Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi)
Names of the masters exhibited within the U-shaped Uffizi building read like a who’s who of Renaissance art. Find seminal works by Botticelli, da Vinci, Raphael and Rembrandt in a collection that spans six centuries. The Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi) is unique in that it contains only masterpieces. It’s considered by many to have the most important collection of Western art in the world.
Designed by architect Giorgio Vasari in 1560, the Uffizi is one of the oldest galleries in the world. The building was originally intended for administration offices (“uffizi”). The gallery began in 1574 when the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Francesco I, began to house his art collection here. Subsequent members of his family added to the collection, which now contains works spanning a period from the 13th to the 18th centuries. There are more than 40 rooms over two levels.
The most popular rooms are those containing the works of Botticelli. See his famous paintings Primavera and the Birth of Venus. Trace the development of da Vinci’s style in Room 15, where you’ll find early examples of his apprenticeship with Verrocchio. Trailblazers like Giotto and Cimabue are well represented too. Admire works by Filippo Lippi, Caravaggio and native Florentine Michelangelo.
If the collection starts to seem overwhelming, pick up a guide from reception to help you decide where to focus your visit. These guides are also a good souvenir, as photography is prohibited in the gallery. Audio guides are available for a fee and in several languages.
Relax and enjoy refreshments at the Uffizi’s roof-top café, which offers light meals and superb views across the Piazza della Signoria and beyond. The café is only accessible to those who have paid to enter the gallery.
The Uffizi receives over one million visitors a year and is very busy during peak season. Avoid the infamously long lines and pre-book tickets, as this dramatically reduces waiting time.
The gallery is is located on the edge of the Piazza Della Signoria in central Florence. It’s open from Tuesday to Sunday and closed on Christmas and New Year’s days, and May 1.