Florence – Uffizi Gallery

Hi friends, welcome back to my Italy series! The first museum on the agenda, and one of our favorite museums of the trip, was the Uffizi Gallery. Florence was the birthplace of the Renaissance (1450-1500) and this museum houses the greatest collection of Italian paintings by Leonardo, Raphael, Caravaggio, Michelangelo, and Botticelli. I booked our time slot months ahead of time, but you have to take your email confirmation to a ticket window fifteen minutes before to get your actual ticket. This seemed inefficient to me, but we didn’t have any issues. We decided to skip a guided tour and downloaded the free Rick Steves audio guide instead. I use his books when planning my trips and we love watching his Youtube videos, so we were excited about the audio guide. He has them for most major European sights, and they’re definitely corny, but that’s part of the charm. When the tour started, Rick told us to get our “uffizies” moving and off we went.

We entered the museum around 8:30, and it wasn’t too busy but as the day went on, it was filled with more and more tour groups. The museum is spread out over two floors, but we spent most of our time on the top floor and walked through the bottom floor pretty quickly. If you have extra time or need a break there’s an outdoor café upstairs with incredible views.

The museum is relatively small and we spent about three hours inside. Some of the highlights of the Uffizi Gallery include:

This Medieval painting, Madonna and Child, by Giotto shows the first hint of realism and dimension. Giotto painted this in 1310 when he was the most famous painter of his time. He also designed the famous Bell Tower of the Duomo.

In the Early Renaissance artists used mathematics to show perspective and 3-D images. The Battle of San Romano by Paolo Uccello depicts an attempt at this and you can see that some parts are good, but others are bad.

Madonna and Child with Two Angels by Fra Filippo Lippi shows a shift to more realistic human faces.

Federico da Montefeltro and Battista Sforza by Piero della Francesca were some of the first ordinary people to be painted of the Renaissance.

Sandro Botticelli was one of the greatest Renaissance painters in Florence. Some of his most famous works of art on display at the Uffizi are Birth of Venus and Allegory of Spring.

The Calamny of Apelles by Botticelli depicts the end of the Renaissance.

The Tribune room features the Venus de Medici, a copy of a lost Greek statue. There is a line to peek into this room, but it’s worth waiting in. The ceiling and decor in the room are stunning.

Lupa – the Roman she-wolf that raised Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.

The views from inside the museum of the Duomo and Ponte Vecchio are also must sees.

The High Renaissance (1500-1550) was considered the peak of the Renaissance and Leonardo da Vinci often left works unfinished such as the Adoration of the Magi. The far right side includes a self portrait of Leonardo when he was about thirty.

The Annunciation was da Vinci’s frist major work and he painted it when he was twenty.

The Baptism of Christ was painted by da Vinci’s mentor, Andrea del Verracchio, and Leonardo painted the angel on the far left when he was just fourteen.

Holy Family by Michaelangelo is the only easel painting he made.

Madonna of the Goldfinch by Raphael shows his skill of depicting harmonious beauty.

Dual Portraits by Raphael were inspired by the Mona Lisa.

Medusa by Carravagio features his face as Medusa’s.

The Uffizi Gallery has some of the most famous pieces in the world and is a must see on a visit to Florence. The museum is well laid out and the perfect size to not feel overwhelmed. We liked that with our audio guide we could learn the history and significance of the main pieces, but at our own pace. Stay tuned for more Florence sightseeing 🙂

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36 thoughts on “Florence – Uffizi Gallery

  1. Fabulous walk thru’ and photos Lyssy which bring back fond memories of my first visit where I rocked up and bought a ticket – no queue – those were the days. You’re correct when you say it’s a “must visit” on any trip to Florence.

    1. That’s a good observation. I believe they’ve been doing a lot of renovations the last 10 years.

  2. Thanks for the memories. This was the only museum we managed when we were in Florence with our tour group in 1984 and only then near the closing time. I did not take photos in the day, but yours brought back memories. I am with you on the Rick Steeves books for planning. A wealth of useful info. Thanks for sharing Lyssy. Allan

    1. I think you managed to see the best museum in Florence. I think if I didn’t have a blog I wouldn’t take that many pictures of museums. I had to be a little careful because I was using a 2020 book, but Rick rarely steers me wrong. His name even came up in the episode of Kelly & Mark I attended because Emilio Esteves consulted him on a movie.

  3. That audio tour sounds like the perfect way to see the museum. You saw some pretty amazing pieces.

    1. I wish I knew about the audio tour when we were in Paris. It is amazing all the famous pieces in one relatively small museum.

    1. I have yet to regret booking an early ticket, only the first few minutes after the alarm goes off 🙂

  4. Standing ovation here, Lyssy. Bravo! This is a wonderful post. Having studied art history in college, I would love to see these works in person, but your post covers them so well, I felt like I was there with you.

    1. Thank you!! So glad you enjoyed this 🙂 I hope you can see this museum in person one day!

  5. Great photos Lissy – I’ve been a few times – first time in August 1986 we queued for a few hours – ah the heat! I know we queued another time but maybe it was a secondary queue with tickets – We had Stephen with us and I can’t remember his age but I can hear myself trying to drum a few names into his young head – Botticelli in particular sticks in my mind!

    1. Thank you! Waiting in line in the heat is tough! It was cooler than I thought it would be on our trip, but I’d much prefer that than the heat. It’s hard to appreciate it as a kid, but awesome to experience!

  6. You saved the best for last. Caravaggio is my favorite of the Renaissance artists (with Michelangelo a close second), especially his chiaroscuro works. Some of his best can be found hanging in modest churches in Florence and Rome. The Botticellis are familiar, as is the “ordinary people” Della Francesca, but I think I’m remembering them from an art history class versus a visit to the Uffizzi. We toured the nearby Palazzo Vecchio, but since my college year focus was architecture (not art), we didn’t spend nearly enough time in wondrous museums like this one.

    1. I am working on my Rome blogs and just wrote about some famous Caravaggio works we saw in a church. It is amazing how these churches have such incredible artwork. I think I remember the ordinary people from an art class too. We didn’t make it inside Palazzo Vecchio but I would’ve loved to see the passageways and apartments.

  7. I visited this museum during my stay in Florence; your selection of works clearly shows the quality of the collection. I would gladly visit it again.

  8. A fascinating museum to wonder around, Lyssy, even better with Rick Steves’ corny audio commentary. That’s a good tip, I had no idea he had free audio guides. Your photos from inside the gallery of various artworks are excellent. You must’ve been jostling with the crowds, especially in front of Botticelli.

    1. I wish I remembered he had the guides when I visited London and Paris, that would’ve been helpful. Can’t beat free! I don’t think the crowds were too bad that early thankfully, but I am definitely patient to get my shot.

  9. I love Rick Steves, too! I agree he’s a bit corny, but you can’t help but feel the passion he has for travel on his shows…I don’t recall visiting the Uffizi Gallery when I was last in Florence (years ago, as a kid), but the architecture nerd in me is dazzled by its symmetry and elegantly-white walls! Looks like I’ll have to make a trip back to Florence to check it out!

    1. I do love his passion for travel, and the corniness is part of his charm. The building is stunning! Florence is always a good idea, and so is this museum 🙂

    1. Thank you! The audio guide is great, he really put a lot of time in it even though it’s free. I’ll definitely be using them when I visit other cities in Europe.

  10. We had to do the same thing to get our tickets at the Uffizi last summer, which seemed a bit silly. But it sure beats standing in the other line for those that didn’t book their tickets in advance! Good call on going first thing in the morning.

    1. I agree! I just can’t believe some people just wing their trips and museums. I book everything months in advance, but I am not spontaneous.

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