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 🙂 🙂

  11. Just love the ceilings . . .think I prefer them to the artwork! How busy was Florence overall? I really want to go but crowds putting us both off. A friend went in January and said it was quiet then, but not sure I’d cope with the cold.

    Shame your blue skies though didn’t last your whole trip . . do hope it is a true Algarvian blue when you arrive here on Sunday.

    1. It was around 15C some of the time and very pleasant. The middle day was the cloudy one (and the one we did the gardens 😦 ). Not crowded at all, which was wonderful. I booked online for the Uffizi but nothing else really needed it. Walked straight in to Palazzo Vecchio. I think that with Easter being late we had a really good window of opportunity. 🙂 🙂

      1. oh that temp sounds perfect for city explorations, and like the sound of how uncrowded it was. Will keep our eye out for another late Easter so we like you can go March time 🙂

  12. There’s one instantly recognisable painting that I like, Botticelli’s Venus. But like you I only know a little about art. If I like it, I like it, if I don’t i can still appreciate it’s beauty just wouldn’t want it on my walls 🙂 I like the jovial Musketeers, they’d be fun on a night out – or in !*! 😉
    I can’t remember when you’re off but have a lovely relaxed trip and take my hugs along too x:-)x

    1. Badly planned weekend, Gilly! We’re at a 100th birthday celebration (where I’ve been entrusted with someone’s fancy camera to take photos of the event- ha! Why me?) on Saturday evening. The clock’s go forward and we have a 7am flight from Leeds on Sunday morning. Leave home about 3am. Eek! Good job it’s worth it 🙂 🙂 And yes, d’Artagnan for me please 🙂 Hugs, darlin1

  13. It’s overwhelming to me to think how much beauty men and women have created, especially during certain periods. How fortunate we are that people like the Medicis appreciated, bought, and saved it and that you shared some of it with us!

  14. It’s mind boggling to consider the amount of work that must have gone in to creating these incredible pieces. Beautiful captures Jo💛

  15. WoW! All these famous classical works of art! We were in Florence but didn’t have the patience to queue up. Next time we’ll book tickets on line! And in the mean time I ‘ve had a glimpse thanks to you!

  16. So many special pieces, Jo – your head must have been spinning. I love sculpture and that piece of the reclining lady is wonderful. Like you I’m not an art aficionado so I don’t know if it’s a famous piece. But I love how the fabric drapes so beautifully. She looks like so realistic.

  17. Must admit I have a soft spot for Musketeers too! Stunning pictures of an incredible place. Almost overwhelming in its beauty and amount of artwork. Wonderful post Jo.

  18. My husband and I spent ages inside admiring many of the amazing masterpieces, like you I am not an art buff, but found enough there to keep me totally mesmerised. We visited in February few years ago and found the place to be empty of tourists…marvellous 😄

  19. Did you see that program about Italy’s Invisible Cities where they created 3D images of the buildings? Alexander Armstrong and Dr Michael Scott presented it. I watched the one on Florence last week (recorded it) and it was fabulous (as was Naples and Venice). Fascinating stuff about the Medici family and Michelangelo. I’m actually surprised that you are allowed to take photos of these paintings, but glad you could and did. Not that I am much of an art connoisseur but I can appreciate good work.

    1. Yes, those programmes had me on the edge of my seat, Jude. I’ve watched Florence a few times and will watch the others again. I’m surprised about the photos too. You never really know, do you? One rule for Durham… 🙂 🙂

  20. Wow! I love your interpretation of it. It looks completely overwhelming and I’d be taking a breath like you, by gazing out of the window. The views are wonderful, and I quite like a bit of cloud and haze!

  21. At last: the Uffizi. What a rich post. And what is is to have money – lots of it! (Although I get pleasure, lots of it, from my less expensive and well-known Barnards, de Mains, Barrioses, Elliots, Wallaces and Tyrrels – no ceiling paintings though, unless you count the odd spiderweb.) I’d have been looking up too. Your photos are wonderful, and your commentary is a gem: you know how to charm as well as inform. Da Vinci’s are indeed engaging characters – I’m going to have to hunt out more. I love the way you combine views out the window and the richness of the ceilings. The pairing really highlights the different pleasures of art and the real world. You’re off again soon. Travel relaxedly, and know that I’ve stuffed a few hugs amongst your clothes – whether you take them with you, or have them in residence: hugs know!!!

    1. You are a wonderful friend! 🙂 There is so much to take in, Meg. I’m not at all discerning when it comes to art but it is pure luxury to have it wash over you like that. The history is amazing and you could really get lost in the cast of characters. I’m bundling up a few bits to take with me. Your hugs will be there 🙂 🙂

  22. Your shots through the windows are so interesting!
    I love your enthusiasm in front of these pieces of art , but what I most appreciate is your interest about the town of Florence …
    I’m sure your co-bloggers could have at least an idea of this city , where Nature and Art “worked” together
    In making it so special…
    Grazie!

    1. It’s a little intimidating ‘reproducing’ famous art, Anna, but it has to be personal doesn’t it, or there’s no point. 🙂 Thanks for your lovely comments.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s