The Uffizi is the large building just to the right of the Ponte Vecchio Bridge
I knew a long time before we arrived in Italy that I wanted to see the Accademia Museum. I also knew that I probably wanted to visit the Uffizi, but with so much to see in Florence I wasn’t at all sure that we might not suffer such museum fatigue that we wouldn’t get there. I bought our Accademia tickets online several months before the trip, but saved the decision to visit the Uffizi until just a few days before we left for Siena.
The timing seemed right. I went online and booked a Skip-the-Line ticket and 3 hour tour with CAF Tours. Skip-the-Line is imperative but I also thought that with such a big gallery and so much to see it would be smart to have a guided tour as well. It was a smart choice.
The Uffizi is huge and could be incredibly overwhelming without a guide. We booked an early tour and arrived at Door Number 1 looking for the person in the yellow vest. There were about 20 people in our group, minus two who had mistakenly booked the tour for 2019 and had to step out of line. An easy mistake, and glad I didn’t make that one.
If you really are an art buff, here is a link to the paintings of the Uffizi Gallery. Real photos of the paintings, no people in front of them, with artists and dates and the proper names of the paintings. Then again, if you simply like to read my version of visiting the Uffizi, continue onward. You also have the option of wandering around in my SmugMug gallery to see many of the paintings and descriptions that I didn’t put in this blog.
My recent posts about our trip to Italy have been fairly wordy. I think this time I might give myself a break (as well as my readers) and keep the words few and let the photos do most of the talking.
Located in the heart of Florence, adjacent to the Palazzo Vecchio, the palace which houses the Uffizi Gallery was built between 1560 and 1580 as a public administrative building (hence its name, uffizi which means offices in old Tuscan language).
This enclosed walkway that connects the Uffizi, across the Ponte Vecchio, to the Pitti Palace on the opposite side of the river was built by the Medici’s. They needed a protected way to get from their offices to their homes without having to endure the street riffraff below.
In 1590, a part of the palace was converted into a private exhibition space, known as the galleria, in order to accommodate the large art collection of the House of Medici. In 1769 it was transformed into a publicly-open museum. It is believed that the modern term gallery, used to identify a space where works of art are on display, originates from that of the Uffizi’s original galleria.
Follow me now into one of the greatest art galleries in the world.
The Return from Egypt 1540 Oil on Wood by Agnolo Bronzino
Madonna of the Pomegranate 1487 Tempura on Wood by Sandro Botticelli
Annunciation 1472 Oil on Wood by Leonardo da Vinci
Coronation of the Virgin 1439 Tempura on Wood by Filippo Lippi
Madonna and Child with 2 Angels 1460 Tempura on Wood by Filippo Lippi
Madonna of the Magnificat 1483 Tempura on Wood by Sandro Botticelli
Primavera 1482 by Sandro Botticelli
Our guide explained the mythology behind each of the characters in this complex painting
Birth of Venus 1482 by Sandro Botticelli
Yes, that one. This one was especially hard to photograph because as you can imagine, the room was filled to bursting with people trying to get photos of the well known painting.
Holy Family with Young St John the Baptist 1505 Tempura grassa on wood by Michelangelo Buonarroti.
Yes, you are right. We stood in front of this one for a very long time. Notice the strength in Mary’s arms, painted by the great sculptor. OF course, as he often did, Michelangelo included his own likeness in his art.
Venus of Urbino 1534 Oil on Canvas by Titian
Baccus 1597 Oil on Canvas by Carraveggio
Sacrifice of Isaac 1603 Oil on Canvas by Carraveggio
Raphael, Rubens, and countless others
Good Fortune 1617 oil on canvas by Gherardo della Notti
Are you exhausted yet? We spent several hours in the Uffizi, trying to absorb the magnitude of great art there. Standing in the very presence of great art, especially art that is imprinted on one’s brain from our collective consciousness is a bit overwhelming. Of course you can’t touch anything, thanks to very loud infra red alarms that will screech very loudly if your hands get too close. But you are close enough to touch the paintings, to look at the fine detail, to appreciate what it takes to make art like this. An experience neither of us will forget.
It was a long day. I actually have no idea what we did that evening, what we had for dinner, and I don’t remember the walk home. However, I do remember this moment, when we reached our little street and I could see the door to our apartment. It was a wonderful day and it was even more wonderful to know we had no plans for the following day except resting up a bit and reviewing and remembering the last few days of amazing experiences.