The intriguing story of the Uffizi Gallery

The intriguing story of the Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence is one of the oldest and most famous art galleries in the world. It’s a must see stop on any visit to Florence.

Here are our fast facts which sum up the intriguing story of the Uffizi Gallery.

Uffizi means ‘palace of offices’.

The Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo I de’ Medici asked Vasari – a painter and architect - to design offices for the government and city magistrates in 1559. The result was the Uffizi Palace, now the Uffizi Gallery. Its name is a reflection of the fact that it was created as an office space – albeit a rather grand one.

In the 1570s, Cosimo’s successor, Francis I - the next Grand Duke, converted the top floor of the Uffizi Palace. This was the start of its journey to becoming one of the world’s most famous galleries.

Like his father, Francis wanted to use this new space as a store for the family’s extensive art collection – a collection that began in the 14th Century.

The Uffizi Gallery – a U shaped structure with a beautiful courtyard.

As the Medici family added to their art collection, they simultaneously extended the Uffizi Palace.

In the late 16th century, Francesco also created the Tribuna of the Uffizi for his father. This octagonal room was where they placed their most important paintings. The family were prolific art collectors – something Florence benefits from today.

The Uffizi Palace began to grow in importance and took a spot on what was known as the Grand Tour.

Upper class families would sometimes send their young sons on a Grand Tour of Europe. The Tribuna of the Uffizi became an important stop. However, at this time it was not a public gallery so they had to ask politely to be shown around.

The Annunciation by Leonardo Da Vinci is housed at the Uffizi Gallery – home of one of the world’s most impressive art collections.

The Uffizi Palace became the Uffizi Gallery in 1765.

The last Medici heiress, Anna Maria Lodovica left the family art collection, which had been collected over almost 400 years, to the Lorraine family in 1743. However, she stipulated that the collection must remain in Florence. The collection was opened to the public in 1765.

The Uffizi gallery has so many works of art that there’s too many to display at any one time.

The Uffizi Gallery is famous for the amount of art it has. It has over 100,000 paintings and drawings alone. In fact, such is the size of the collection; some of the works are displayed outside the Uffizi in other galleries in Florence.

The list of artists whose work is displayed in the Uffizi is astounding.

It includes Rubens, Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Botticelli, Titian, Parmigianino, Rembrandt and Uccello.

The Baptism of Christ by Leonardo Da Vinci is also housed at the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

The Uffizi’s art collection is displayed in chronological order.

This, along with the size of the collection, means that visitors can see how art developed over time. The collection spans Greek sculpture to 18th Century Venetian paintings. Its renaissance collection is at its core. As well as displaying the work of some of the most famous artists of all time, it also has a collection of more than 250 self-portraits of those artists. All of this is now housed in no fewer than 101 rooms.

This is why the Uffizi Gallery is Florence’s most popular attraction.

Almost 2 million people visit each year. If you are planning to visit, do a little research before you go, and have a plan about what you most want to see. Try to visit with an organized tour – this way you will take most from it, see it in a structured way, and benefit from skip the line tickets – because the lines can be long in peak season!

Take a tour of the Uffizi Gallery with Venice Events.

Venice Events is the Italian sightseeing expert – offering tours of many of Italy’s beautiful towns, cities and attractions. Visit our website at for full details of our tour of Florence and the Uffizi Gallery - where we’ll help you explore this amazing treasure trove of art, and then the beautiful city of Florence itself.

Our service is based on our professionalism, knowledge and friendliness. Here’s what our most recent visitors had to say about their time with us (via TripAdvisor):

“I had two guides, Iole and Silvia. They were excellent -- personable, considerate, knowledgeable, efficient. Everything I asked for and the excursions were great.”

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The team at Venice Events.