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Uffizi Gallery and Florence Museums Tickets & Reservations

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The Uffizi Gallery

David-The Accademia Gallery
Pitti Palace
The Bargello
Medici Chapels
Pitti Palace-Palatina Gallery & Royal Apart.
San Marco Museum
Archaeological Museum
Pitti Palace - Modern Art Gallery
Precious Stones Museum
Boboli Gardens
Pitti Palace-Costume Gallery
Pitti Palace-Silver Museum
Pitti Palace-Porcelain Museum
Dante House
Bardini Gardens
The Uffizi Gallery
Museum Uffizi Gallery
It is the Temple of Art, the place of spirit and creativity where the "Florentine and Universal Genius" shows its highest ...
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David-The Accademia Gallery
Museum David Accademia Gallery
The Gallery shows the famous David by Michelangelo, symbol of freedom and independence ...
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Pitti Palace
Museum Pitti Palace
The big florentine royal palace where history, art and nature intersect ...
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The Bargello
Museum The Bargello
It is a splendid stone castle, that preseves the most important scuptures of the Reinassance ...
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Medici Chapels
Museum Medici Chapels
Here you will find the magnificent works of Michelangelo carved for the mausoleum ...
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Pitti Palace-Palatina Gallery & Royal Apart.
Museum Pitti Palace Palatina Gallery and Royal Apart
Collection of precious Italian and foreign works from XV to XVIII century Raffaello , Tiziano , Rubens ...
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San Marco Museum
Museum San Marco Museum
Anciet monastery of 13th century.Museum of Beato Angelico and library of manuscripts ...
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Boboli Gardens
Museum Boboli Gardens
This is the wonderful park Universal fantastic that opens the season of the famous Italian garden ...
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Pitti Palace-Costume Gallery
Museum Pitti Palace Costume Gallery
Fashion becomes art through this collection of costumes running from 18th century to contemporary times ...
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The birth of the Uffizi under Cosimo de 'Medici and Giorgio Vasari

The Uffizi Gallery is housed in one of the most interesting and stunning architectural masterpieces in Florence. The building consists of two primary wings in a horseshoe shape connected by a southern corridor parallel to the river Arno. The large central courtyard opens onto the historical Piazza Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio, which together form one of the the most renowned and beautiful examples of Italian civic architecture of the Renaissance period.

The building was commissioned by Grand Duke Cosimo I de 'Medici and designed by architect Giorgio Vasari of Arezzo, who left Rome for Florence in 1554 to complete the work. In the years to follow, Vasari became one of the greatest chroniclers of art, architecture and major artistic events of Florence during that period, as well as a respected historian with his superb treaty "LIVES". His work remains a respected source of art history to this day. 

In 1560 the construction of the Uffizi began, it was to become the future offices of the thirteen most important Florentine magistrates, previously located in various places throughout the city. With the new offices, the magistrates would be under the direct supervision of the Grand Duke, reinforcing Florence's increased role as the political and military power of central Italy after the conquest of Siena (1555) and the subsequent nomination of Cosimo I as Grand Duke of Tuscany (1569). The complex was designed to spacially combine the Piazza della Signoria (the traditional seat of the government) with the river by an open path. 

The building rises from the courtyard, set apart by a short staircase. This dominant position is further enhanced by a porch of Tuscan Doric columns, which runs the length of the building and thereby expands the spatiality of the courtyard itself. This porch was very stylistically innovative for its time, as it introduced columns connected by straight lintels rather than the arches more traditionally used such as in the Ospedale degli Innocenti by Filippo Brunelleschi or the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova by Bernardo Buontalenti. Every third column was replaced by a solid pilaster designed with a niche to house statues. Above the columned arcade, the building's facade is divided into three parts which highlight the characteristics of axial symmetry and geometry, each defined by the alternation of gray pietra serena stone and white plaster. The typical Florentine roofline, with its pronounced overhang, enhances the architectural perspective of the building's scale when seen from below.

The building now houses the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most important museums in the world, renowned for the sheer size of its collection of Italian pre-Renaissance art. Every year it is visited by 1,800,000 people.

The Grand Duke also wanted to build a secret passage that connected the Palazzo Vecchio (the government headquarters) to the Pitti Palace, which became the official residence of the Medici dynasty after Cosimo's wife,  Eleonora of Toledo, daughter of the viceroy of Naples, bought the majestic palace. To accomplish this complicated task, Vasari designed and built, in less than a year, an elevated passageway which ran from Palazzo Vecchio, through the entire length of the top floor of the Uffizi, and then turned to follow the banks of the Arno before climbing a long stairway and crossing above the Ponte Vecchio, then finally turning sharply and passing through various neighborhoods of the Oltrarno before finally arriving at the Boboli Gardens. This passage became known as the Vasari Corridor and it was the only path that connected the two banks of the Arno after the bridges of the city had been mined during World War II. 

Construction Under Francis I and Bernardo Buontalenti

After the death of Vasari, in 1574, Bernardo Buontalenti took over the construction of the Uffizi. He shared this role with Alfonso Paris the Old. In 1580 the Uffizi was completed. Once complete,  Buontalenti began to shape the artistic direction of the building, covering the loggia on the top floor of the Uffizi and converting it to the personal gallery of Francis 1 (son of Grand Duke Cosimo I). This gallery housed works of art of all kinds, such as semi-precious stones, medals, ancient and modern statues, gold, bronze, armor, miniatures, scientific instruments, as well as portraits of family  and illustrious men, but mainly the exceptional collection of paintings from the 1400s, this personal gallery then opened what was to become the oldest museum in modern europe. Buontalenti also oversaw the final completion of the Vasari Corridor which joined the Palazzo Vecchio to Palazzo Pitti. During the same period between 1584-87, Buontalenti created laTribuna Octagonale inside the Uffizi, designed to accommodate the most important works of the Medici collection.

In 1583 Francis I commissioned Buontalenti to transform the rooftop terrace of the Loggia of Orcagna, later called dei Lanzi for the stay of the German Landsknecht soldiers in 1527 during their passage to Rome, into a roof garden used for musical concerts and other events. Unfortunately this garden terrace no longer exists. 

Inside the Uffizi, Buontaleni also created the Medici Theatre (1583 - 1586) in the first and second floors of the east wing, for which he designed the costumes and the sets for the various performances that became famous throughout Europe and constituted a decisive step towards  Italian baroque theater. Today only the entrance hall for the theater remains, the rest was dismantled in the late nineteenth century, and has been divided into two floors with the construction of new exhibition halls by Michelucci-Scarpa-Gardella in 1956.

From Ferdinand I to the End of the Medici Dynasty

Although the Uffizi was completed at the end of the 16th century, work on the building continued with a series of improvements to beautify the interior. At the same time the Medici were expanding their vast collection of works of art and the influx of new artistic activities helped determine a place dedicated to the preservation and exposure of these works.

Ferdinando I de 'Medici (1587), son of Cosimo I, who took over the helm of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany with his brother Francesco I, after living in Rome for 38 years as a cardinal, where among other things, he founded the Villa Medici. He purchased many artworks including so-called "Giovio Series," a collection of portraits of famous men painted by Cristofano dell'Altissimo. Ferdinando I moved this collection from the Palazzo Vecchio to the Uffizi; where you can see them today between the beams of the statue gallery. He also commissioned the Hall of Maps, where maps representing the old territory of  Florence, the new territories of Florence after the conquest of Siena and the Island of Elba were displayed. Lastly he transfered his precious stone collection to the West Wing and setup workshops for the manufacture and preservation of porcelain, jewelry and miniatures. A new seven room gallery featuring arms and armor was set up next to the workshop. 

At the end of the 16th century many famous artists were commissioned to fresccoe the ceilings, halls and corridors of the Uffizi including Federico Tempesta and Alessandro Allori who designed the  "grotesque" figures. 

In 1591 the Grand Duke Ferdinando I de 'Medici ordered to open the gallery to visitors, but only on request. After his death in 1609, the gallery did not acquire any other collections until Vittoria della Rovere, the last descendant of the Dukes of Urbino, and wife of Ferdinando II de 'Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, brought a large dowry of works of art including paintings by Piero della Francesca, Raphael, Titian, Federico Barocci.

The Last of the Medici and the "Family Agreement"

The Medici dynasty died out with Gian Gastone (9 July, 1737) leaving no heirs, so according to the agreements between the powerful European courts the grand ducal title passed to the Duke of Lorraine. But it was the sister of Gian Gastone, the Electress Palatine Anna Maria Luisa, the last of the Medici to remain alive, who inherited the art galleries. Her passion for art, as well as the long tradition of the Medici family, led her to make a special"Family Agreement" on 31 October, 1737 with the new ruling dynasty which forbade the removal of the ‘‘galleries, paintings, statues, libraries, joys and other precious things," and instead guaranteed them for public use and to attract the curiosity of foreigners.

It was this special deal that prevented Florence from falling into the same fate as other Italian courts, (such as Mantua and Parma, Ferrara and Urbino,) and allowed the city to keep all of the great treasures and arts accumulated under the Medici, even when the rulership shifed to an outside family.

The Uffizi Gallery Under the Grand Duchy of Lorraine

In 1769 the Grand Duke Peter Leopold I, inaugurated the opening of the Uffizi Gallery to the public under the expert direction of Giuseppe Pelli Benivenni. As was becoming popular during the period, the exhibition rooms were reorganized following the school of thought that every room should have "its own kind of thing, or at most two." Thus the exhibition halls were organized by "subject" or type of art, and many works of art including: ancient objects, scientific instruments and armory were moved to other museums. In so doing, the Uffizi Gallery became the appointed place for painting.

In 1781 Gaspare Maria Paoletti introduced the Hall of Niobe where he placed a group of ancient Roman statues found in the 1500s in the Temple of Apollo. They represented the wife of the king of Thebes and his unfortunate children, who were slain by Apollo and Artemis who had been ordered to do so out of jealousy by their mother. After careful restoration the hall was reopened to the public in 2012, displaying the statues and four monumental paintings, two of which belong to Rubens.

Beging in 1793, the Grand Duke, thanks to his relationship with the house of Habsburg-Lorraine, brought a number of valuable paintings from the Imperial Gallery of Vienna. These included works by Titian, Giovanni Bellini, Giorgione, Durer, for which he exchanged some Florentine works of art.

In the first half of the 19th century the courtyard of the Uffizi was enriched with 28 marble statues placed in the niches and pillars of the colomned arcade. Each statue depicted illustrious Tuscans, such as Giotto (John Dupré), Michelangelo (Emilio Santarelli) or Macchiavelli (Lorenzo Bartolini); and each sclupted by artists of the contemporary age.

The Uffizi Gallery After the Unification of Italy

After the unification of Italy, the Uffizi Gallery was poised to consolidate its mission to be the exhibition center of painting. In fact, in the late nineteenth century, the collection was enriched by the arrival of new works from S. Maria Nuova‘s so-called "picture gallery" including the largest of the Portinari Triptych, a large oil on panel dedicated to the adoration of the shepherds painted by the famous Flemish painter Hugo van der Goes around 1477 and commissioned by the Florentine banker Tommaso Portinari. Additional works, arriving from churches and other religious institutions, allowed the Uffizi to bolster its collection and represent periods of art not present in the ancient collection .

The museum’s collection grew further in 1969 when Count Alessandro Contini Bonacossi made a large donation including 35 paintings with important works by Andrea del Castagno, Giovanni Bellini, sculptures such as the martyrdom of San Lorenzo Bernini, coats of arms of the Della Robbia family, furniture and majolica pottery.

The Contemporary Design of the "Great Uffizi"

By the end of the 20th century the Uffizi has become the largest museum complex in Europe. Now, and beginning as early as the '90s, much rennovation has been done to unveil a "New Uffizi." Divided in two phases, this began with doubling the exhibition spaces from 5,400 sqm to approximately 12,000 sqm. This phase also included improving support services including, upgrading the security system and improving the tour routes. The second phase involves the construction of a sculpture gallery in the west wing, and a new reception area with cafeteria and book shop, as well as bringing the Vasari Corridor up to modern safety standards. The completion of phase two will allow for a new layout within the museum, allowing guests to better appreciate the exhibits. Today the first floor houses works of the 17th century, the hall of Caravaggio and temporary exhibitions.

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