The Uffizi Gallery in Florence is one of Italy’s most renowned and revered museums. It’s chiefly famous for hosting the greatest collection of Italian Renaissance art in the world, including the ‘Big’ names such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Raphael and Titian.
The Uffizi, with more than 4 million visitors a year, is the second most visited museum in Italy, after the Archeological Park in Rome. It has 45 rooms, displaying collections of paintings and sculptures in an impressive setting.
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Why is the Uffizi Gallery in Florence famous?
The Uffizi opened its doors to the public at the end of the 18th century, and still manages to charm its visitors today thanks to its sublime collection of Italian Renaissance masterpieces. Historically, it’s an important piece of Florence‘s heritage, and a testimony to the cultural significance of this city in 14th and 15th century Europe.
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The Uffizi started its life as a private art collection of the Medici, the family that ruled Florence for 300 years. The Medici, wealthy all-powerful bankers and astute politicians, were also great art appreciators and spent a great deal of money sponsoring artists such as Brunelleschi, Michelangelo and Botticelli. They collected some of the greatest works of art at the time, to show off their influence to the other European rulers that came to visit Florence.
The Renaissance still influences Western taste and art today. In an interview, the director of the Uffizi, Schmidt, explains why the Renaissance is still relevant to us : “It was an age of intellectual and technological progress in Europe, and Florence was at the centre of this ‘cultural revolution. The Uffizi is not some ivory tower of art; in fact, its collections address the major issues of our contemporary world. Through art, the museum can tell the great story of the past while also bringing the artworks to life in the present, because its masterpieces speak a universal language.”
Is the Uffizi Gallery worth seeing?
If you love art, you can’t miss the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. You’ll be admiring iconic paintings such as the “Birth of Venus” and “Spring” by Botticelli, and stand in awe in front of the mesmerising paintings by Leonardo Da Vinci in the recently renovated Leonardo Hall. You’ll get to see the impressive “Medusa” by Caravaggio and ‘Tondo Doni’, the only paining on canvas by Michelangelo Buonarroti.
The artistic time frame covers 1300 – 1600, meaning that you won’t find any contemporary art. Instead you’ll see how the Renaissance developed, from the early works by Giotto – considered the first ‘modern painter to change the course of Western art – to the enigmatic Piero della Francesca, and the great High Renaissance Masters to the followers of Michelangelo.
Even if art isn’t your thing, it’s worth going just for the location. The Uffizi Gallery is set in a beautiful position, just off the handsome Piazza Signoria, overlooking the river Arno. The building itself is a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. Initially it housed the “Uffizi”, Florence’s administrative and legal offices. The project was entrusted to Giorgio Vasari, who designed a grand edifice with a beautiful portico of Doric columns that gave the idea of severity and rigour, but also elegance.
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