Entering the Uffizi


Everywhere I went in Florence I was aware of the Medici balls.  Prominent on the family crest and a symbol of the power of the de Medici family, I grew quite fond of them.  No surprise then to find them here at the Uffizi Gallery.  Cosimo 1 de Medici entrusted the task of creating another grandiose building alongside the Palazzo Vecchio to his favourite architect, Giorgio Vasari.  The intention was to house the offices of the Florentine magistrates, the Tribunal and the state archive under one roof, uffizi meaning ‘offices’.

The de Medicis had distinctly magpie tendencies when it came to art works, and the top floor of the Uffizi was used to showcase these.  Viewing, of course, was for the select few.  Today it is an enormous privilege to be able to climb the stairs to see some of their collection, among the finest art in Europe.  It was with excitement and just a little trepidation that I climbed those stairs.

I am in no way a serious appreciator of art.  I like what I like, but still there is the desire to be awed by masterpieces that have world renown.  Who can not have heard of Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Botticelli?  And all under one quite amazing roof space!  Persuading one foot to follow another was as much as I could do as I gazed upwards at the ceiling, a work of art in itself.

It was early morning and the gallery was filling slowly.   I tried to keep track of the artworks but inevitably I was drawn to some pieces more than others.  The most acclaimed works swiftly attracted a small crowd, but there were pockets of peace in between times, if you were patient.  I began with Giotto and the Gothics.  The Visit Florence website will guide you much better than I can, and there is a detailed itinerary too.

So many very lovely creations, in such opulent surroundings!  Did you recognise many?  At times I did not know whether to look at the art or the ceilings.  And then there was that celebrated view from the windows.  Only the weather disappointed.

An outside terrace looks out on Palazzo Vecchio, and then it’s downstairs to Da Vinci, and some rather engaging characters.

I always did have a soft spot for Musketeers.  The Uffizi has weathered some rough times, including  major flooding in 1966 and a car bomb explosion in 1993.  A fuller history is covered here.    It took a little while to emerge into the real world, but en route I managed to purchase a stamp and send my postcard of Ponte Vecchio winging its way to Viveka in Sweden.  I know she’ll return the favour when she visits next year.

91 comments

  1. I remember my visit to Florence way back in 1998. I haven’t been back but I will never forget how amazed I was and swept away with its beauty. The art, the museums, the churches and squares and restaurants. Based on your posts it still looks like paradise on earth.

  2. Have only seen the Uffizi from outside Jo so thanks so much for sharing your wonderful photos of the treasures within! I would get lost for days here – so much to take in in one visit! Hope you’re having a lovely weekend! 🙂

  3. Jo, you capture the Uffizi perfectly in this post. It is so amazing, inspiring and huge! Your snippets of information and photographs are wonderful. I absolutely the Uffizi and afterwards almost felt punch drunk on art – overwhelmed by all the beauty. I recall the first few rooms best when I just sat down in awe and almost cried. Just loved it so much.

    1. Awe inspiring, isn’t it? The corridors were amazing! I kept thinking ‘pinch me somebody, this can’t be real’ 🙂 🙂 A bit shy of sharing but it didn’t come out too badly. Have a great weekend! The sun is radiant here, if a little cool.

      1. Not too badly!! Just a slight (ie huge) understatement! I felt I was there (again)! 😀 Sunny here in UK too…even warm enough for lunch outside! Have a great weekend, Jo.❤️

    1. I found it hard to believe that you could, Paula! Amazing, isn’t it, and thank you so much for your offering 🙂 🙂 I’m just putting finishing touches to my walk for next Monday, so excellent timing 🙂

  4. …and again…Italy is calling to me. The ceiling is such an incredibly perfect piece of artwork among a gallery of brilliant pieces. Stunning. I have made it to the Louvre in Paris but the Uffizi seems more ‘intimate’ from what you have shown here. Divine is definitely the right word to describe this place.

    1. Hi sweetheart! Lovely to have you here. 🙂 🙂 I have a couple more days to round up my golden memories before I’m off to the Algarve. It was wonderful to be back in Italy and be surrounded by such beauty.

  5. A grand tour, Jo! Did you have to wait in line? I remember we waited at least 60 min. to get in and got there before they opened…

    1. Hi Amy! You must think me so ignorant! I just found this in my Spam. Sorry! 🙂 🙂 This was the only thing in Florence that we booked online and it worked very well. Almost straight in at 8.45.

  6. I find it fascinating that certain families rise to power through wealth and politics. The Medici family did a lot of good, though, especially through their support of the arts, and with that, the city of Florence. Loved the art tour, Jo. Beautiful!

    1. They were an interesting lot, for sure, Elisa. I’d just like a house suited to hanging one of these masterpieces in. Not greedy, at all! 🙂 🙂 Thanks, hon!

  7. Absolutely lovely…especially the reclining woman. It is hard to believe that someone can take a huge hunk of marble and a chisel and create something so detailed. The fabric draped over her body is just incredible. Thanks for a wonderful visit.

  8. The perfect weather for art viewing! And what art!! It is such a joy for the senses to see beautiful things inside and outside while strolling around. I recognize the stunned feeling from when I was in St. Petersburg last year. Magnificent, Jo!

    1. An amazing mix of galleried art and fabulous surroundings, Gabe. 🙂 Speaking of which, are you in Venice yet? No… cos you wouldn’t be talking to me 🙂 🙂 Have fun!

    1. I’d like a front room that could do justice to any of them, Andrew. 🙂
      Hankering after Croatia. Watched a new series called Homes on the Med last night and Brac and Split looked so beautiful.

      1. Croatia is wonderful. Any of the islands would do for me. Split is a bit too busy and Dubrovnik is mad in high season. The National Parks are worth a visit. If you decide to go I’ll give you some recommendations.

    1. I was just talking about you, Cathy! (over at Gilly’s place 🙂 ) The Sakura will be out in Japan, you lucky soul! Are you almost packed? Dread to think of your luggage! 🙂 🙂

      1. Haha, you know all too well the dilemmas of my luggage problems, Jo. I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place because I need to have enough for 4 months, but also I don’t want to have too much to lug around during my last week of travel, when I’ll no longer have an apartment. Oh dear! Always a challenge! 🙂

  9. How incredible! When I visited Italy I found that after seeing so much of this incredible art (whether it is to your taste or not) you become a little blasé about it! There is just so much of it.

  10. I don’t know much about art, I’m not too fussed about sculptures and to be honest I was distinctly underwhelmed with the Sistine Chapel when I went there, but the artwork you’ve shown here is incredible. I love the two screens (?) and the ceilings are just WOW!! 🙂

    1. I think we might have similar tastes, Eunice. I’ve never been to Rome (though I could have done it by train from Florence, had I only realised sooner- and had more time too, of course 🙂 ). Yes, the Medieval screens were beautiful. You might like some of the frescoes that I haven’t yet had time to post. Heaven knows when 🙂 🙂

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