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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