Uffizi Gallery

Florence, Italy | C.1581

Photo Credit: Savannah Sher

One of the most visited art museums in the world, the Uffizi Gallery came into existence when the House of Medici saw its dynasty end. The prominent Italian banking family and political dynasty gifted their large art collection to the city of Florence under negotiations by Anna Maria Luisa, the last Medici heiress. One of the first museums to display the Medici collections was the Uffizi Gallery.

Designed by Giorgio Vasari in 1560, the Palazzo degli Uffizi – the building complex which houses the Gallery, – was built for Cosimo I de’ Medici, Duke of Tuscany and originally served as offices for Florentine magistrates. Upon the Palazzo’s completion twenty-one years later, the top floor was made into the Gallery for the Medici family and guests to enjoy. Curious visitors could enjoy the Gallery but appointment only.

Through the years, more sections of the Palazzo were used to exhibit paintings and sculptures — 45 to 50 rooms in total. By the 18th century, the Gallery was open to the public and in 1865, the Uffizi formally became a museum. One of the largest art museums in the world, the Ufizzi continues to undergo renovations to support its vast collection of artwork.

For all its grandeur, the Uffizi has not gone without disturbance. In 1993, the Sicilian Mafia planted explosives outside of the museum resulting in casualties and over 35 pieces of damaged art. Nevertheless, the museum was able to restore the damaged interiors and has continued to display its vast collection of work.

In recent years, the Uffizi Gallery has remained a destination for those seeking to experience the size of the Palazzo degli Uffizi and the spectrum of its Italian Renaissance art exhibits. In 2016, the Uffizi reported over two million visitors, making it the most visited art gallery in Italy.

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