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Feb
03

What to See at the Uffizi

uffizi

uffizi

Boy, I sure could have used this when I was standing at the locked doors of the Uffizi last summer, just dying to get in. This is undoubtedly Florence’s greatest museum and one of the top museums in the world. It holds a moment in time that changed the world forever. So when booking your spring flights to Florence—for a vacation with your children or to send them on school trips abroad—take a look at what Gallery director Antonio Natali  has to say about the best way to visit the Uffizi.

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my number one

my number one

How should first-time visitors to the Uffizi Gallery structure their visit? Choose artworks that are of intellectual and spiritual interest, and don’t be too worried about seeing every piece of work in a museum.

What should visitors not miss? Botticelli, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raffaello, Tiziano, Caravaggio.

medusa

medusa

When are the best times to visit? The best time of the year to visit the Uffizi Gallery is during the winter, that is: from mid-November to mid-December, January and February. Ah, no wonder when I went it was closed all the time. Here are the hours:

Tuesday-Sunday 8:15 to 7:00: Fridays, closes at 6:30 and I truly recommend booking online as the lines, particularly in the summer, are brutal. Also go early. I made the mistake of going late in the day to avoid the heat and the crowds and found that the crowds had done to same thing. Also, the gallery is very small and when the crods come in there’s barely enough space to see the pictures.

For visitors with limited time, which rooms/exhibits should be first on the list?

Room 2, Tuscan School of the 13th Century and Giotto: the beginnings of Tuscan art are represented here, with paintings by Giotto, Cimabue, and Duccio di Boninsegna.

Room 7, Early Renaissance: Art works from the beginning of the Renaissance by Fra Angelico, Paolo Uccello, and Masaccio.

Room 8, Lippi Room: This room contains paintings by Filippo Lippi, including a beautiful “Madonna and Child,” and Piero della Francesco’s painting of Federico da Montefeltro.

Rooms 10-14, Botticelli: Here are some of the most iconic allegorical works of the Italian Renaissance from Sandro Botticelli, including “The Birth of Venus.”

Room 15, Leonardo da Vinci: This room is dedicated to the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci and to artists who were  inspired by him.

da vinci

da vinci

Room 25, Michelangelo: Michelangelo’s “Holy Family” (“Doni Tondo”), a round composition, is the focus of this room, and it is surrounded by paintings from Ghirlandaio, Fra Bartolomeo, and others. Keep in mind Michelangelo’s “David” sculpture, is located in the Accademia.

Room 26, Raphael and Andrea del Sarto: Seven works by Rapahel and four works by Andrea del Sarto hang in this room. Well-known Raphael works include his portraits of Popes Julius II and Leo X and “Madonna of the Goldfinch,” while “Madonna of the Harpies” is a must-see by Andrea del Sarto.

Room 28, Titian: This room is dedicated to Venetian painting, particularly that of Titian, whose “Venus of Urbino” is the highlight of a dozen of the artist’s paintings here.

Venus of Urbino Tiziano Titian Vecellio

Venus of Urbino Tiziano Titian Vecellio

West Hallway, Sculpture Collection: Numerous marble sculptures line the hallway of the Uffizi, but Baccio Bandinelli’s “Laocoon,” modeled after a Hellenistic work, is perhaps the best known of the collection.

Room 4 (First Floor), Caravaggio: Three of Caravaggio’s most famous paintings are in this room: “The Sacrifice of Isaac,” “Bacchus,” and “Medusa.” Two other paintings from the School of Caravaggio depict the dramatic topics of “Judith Slaying Holofernes” (Artemisia Gentileschi) and “Salome with the Head of John the Baptist” (Battistello).

the sacrifice of isaac

the sacrifice of isaac

Which works best give insight into Italy?

Most of the artworks in the Uffizi Gallery are representative of Italian culture. The Early Renaissance room gives the best insight into our country. Artists such as Cimabue and Duccio are important early Renaissance figures, and Giotto’s MaestĂ , Paolo Uccello’s Battaglia di San Romano, Masaccio’s Sant’Anna metterza and Piero della Francesca Dittico di Urbino are important works to see.

What’s your favorite artwork? My favouite artwork outside the Uffizi collections is Deposizione by Rosso Fiorentino, in Volterra, which I find deeply touching. Among the artworks in the Uffizi collections my favorite one is Madonna delle arpie by Andrea del Sarto.

Madonna delle arpie by Andrea del Sarto

Madonna delle arpie by Andrea del Sarto

Which artwork has the most interesting history? Pala dello Spedalingo by Rosso Fiorentino was meant for refused it because of the evil expressions the artist gave the saints. After various attempts were made to modify the saints, the artwork ended up in a church far away in the Florentine countryside.

What is the most controversial artwork? One of the most controversial is Adorazione dei Magi by Leonardo da Vinci: because it was left unfinished, many historians have tried to figure out its meaning, and continue to do so.

magi

magi

What is the institution’s greatest strength? The Uffizi Gallery is an institution with ancient and noble origins. It was built in 1560 for Cosimo I de’Medici, and the original design was by Giorgio Vasari, one of the leading painters and architects of the 16th century. The space was originally intended for offices  for various magistrates. However, Francesco I de’ Medici, Cosimo’s son, decided to use the upper floor of the Uffizi  for the family’s collection of art. His successors kept expanding the collection until 1737, when Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici donated the works of art to the citizens of Florence.

What is its greatest weakness? Overcrowding.

What’s unique about the institution? The Uffizi Gallery is unique because of its history, its collections and because it is situated in the centre of Florence, a city rich with culture.

Chiostrino de’ voti della Santissima Annunziata.

Chiostrino de’ voti della Santissima Annunziata.

Where else do you recommend visitors visit in the city? I would recommend a little cloister in Florence. It is called Chiostrino de’ voti della Santissima Annunziata. It is a cloister you must pass through to get to the famous sanctuary. In this cloister Andrea del Sarto and his brilliant students Rosso Fiorentino and Pontormo started to paint. This is the place where the great Cinquecento Fiorentino started. Walking the streets of Florence is the best way to learn about its past. Also a great place to eat ice-cream.

Do you like being the first to know?

If you enjoy always getting the best tips, deals and insider news before everyone else then make sure to visit www.fareboom.com and follow us on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.

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