The Uffizi today are an art museum in the center of Florence. But once it was the administration center of the long-time Medici dynasty and used as well as an art gallery just for the family and their guests. Today it is still difficult to get in, but the reasons are different of course.
The Uffizi (offices) were commissioned by Cosimo I de’ Medici in 1560 and it was the architect Giorgio Vasari to start the construction. The building should house the offices of the magistrates of the city. To finish the construction it was Bernardo Buontalenti and Alfonso Parigi, both well-known architects and designers of their time. Just 21 years later the Uffizi were completed, having on the first floor a private art gallery for the Medici family. They became famous for their huge interest in art of all kinds.
The inner courtyard is extremely long and narrow and with the colonnade (portico) on both sides it seems to be a street. It is open at the south side and gives a spectacular view of the Arno, the Ponte Vecchio and towards the Pitti Palace. In the niches there are sculptures of famous artists of all kinds (poets, painters, architects…)
Just a few years later there was built an additional building: the Tribuna degli Uffizi. This was an octagonal room where a series of masterpieces of art and jewels were displayed. It was open to young people on a Grand Tour (a very common custom for young men and women of age 21 to travel through Europe to learn and make experience, today still in some countries done before entering the university).
In the last decades the Uffizi were modernized. Lighting, security systems, more space to display, air-conditioning and more were added. Today there are more than 100 rooms open. Two million people come every year to visit one of the biggest art collections in the world. Most of the objects are from the Italian-Renaissance.
We had to wait a couple of hours to get in, even though we bought the tickets online the day before. It is definitely overcrowded and to take pictures or to enjoy the incredible art pieces is not easy. But, if you allow yourself enough time to go through the many rooms and corridors (maybe best alone, so you don’t have to look for the other one constantly) then you can really get a lot out of it. The art work is already amazing, but the rooms with their decorations are another wonder. In every room you could just stay and stare at the ceiling to contemplate the beauty of the painting or decoration. The display of the art pieces is very well done and there is not even one piece that is not in the right light. I very much want to return during winter time and have another walk in this breathtaking place. Maybe with a little fewer people. The Uffizi are a must-see-once-in-a-lifetime!