Uffizi Gallery in Italy
Housed in the majestic Palazzo degli Uffizi in the picturesque city of Florence, Italy, the Uffizi Gallery is among the oldest and most renowned art museums in Europe. Taking its name from its original purpose, that of being offices (uffizi) for the magistrates of Florence, the construction of the palace was started in 1560 by Giorgio Vasari and completed in 1581 by subsequent builders, while still keeping to Vasari’s original and distinctive design. As an architect and painter, Vasari brought the best of both of these professions together with a result that has been recognized as exceptional by architectural historians over the centuries.
The multi-storied edifice creates a long narrow courtyard giving the impression of a street, facing the Palazzo Vecchio on one end and the Arno River on the other. The galleries showcase works covering the period from the 13th century to the present-day, with some exceptional pieces going back to the 3rd century of our common era. The majority of the artwork was either purchased or commissioned by the Medici family, and in fact the Palazzo degli Uffizi was commissioned by Cosimo I de’Medici, who was the Duke of Florence between 1537 and 1574. Not only was this a prized venue for showing and viewing superb artwork, it was also the gathering place of great artists, including the legendary Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. As the collection of art grew, so more rooms of the palace were made into galleries to accommodate the collection, with the last Medici heiress, Anna Maria Luisa, being instrumental in turning the Palazzo degli Uffizi into one of the first modern museums, opening to the public in 1765.
Some of the artists whose works are on display in the more than forty rooms open to the public include Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Artemisia Gentileschi, Piero di Cosimo, Sandro Botticelli, Andrea del Verrocchio, Rembrandt Van Rijn, Duccio, Rubens, Simone Martini and Caravaggio, to mention but a few. When visiting the Uffizi Gallery you may want to set the best part of a day aside to explore this fascinating Florentine palace and its treasure trove of superb artworks.