UFFIZI, History

Audio File length: 2.59
English / USA Language: English / USA

Hi, I'm Alyson, your personal guide. Together with MyWoWo, I'd like to welcome you to one of the wonders of the world.

Today I'll accompany you through the Uffizi Gallery, which is one of the most important museums in the world!

Did you make reservations? I strongly suggest you do, otherwise you'll have to stand in unbelievably long lines! With its two million visitors per year and four hundred years of history, the Uffizi has the most admired art collection in Italy. Although a new wing has recently been inaugurated, the museum has too many works to be able to display them all!

Here you'll find yourself standing before some of the most important images of Western civilization: the best of the best of Italian and European art.

You should know that the palace housing the Uffizi wasn't originally built to be a museum. It was part of a grandiose sixteenth-century urbanization project designed by Cosimo I de' Medici, who wanted to bring the various Florentine magistrates together in a single place, the "Uffici", or offices. Then the Grand Duke Francesco I entrusted the palace's east corridor to Bernardo Buontalenti so he could transform it into a place for conserving and exhibiting paintings and sculptures: this first nucleus of the museum remains the incredibly precious Tribunal, which I'll discuss later. Francesco I's successor, his brother Ferdinando, brought rich collections of weapons, paintings, and scientific instruments to the Uffizi.

Already at the end of the 16th century the museum was visited by illustrious people and guests of the Medici family, and shortly thereafter legal measures were taken to prohibit the sale and export of artwork. Over the seventeenth century the Gallery continued to grow, also expanding onto the west side. The museum's most important year in history is 1737, when Anna Luisa Maria, the last descendant of the Medici, gave the Lorenas the family's art collections under the strict condition that they were to stay within the city of Florence and could not be sold.

At the end of the 18th century, when the museum began to take on its present appearance, the paintings were separated by regional schools among the forty halls of the second floor and accompanied by numerous ancient sculptures, while new specialized museums were established for the various collections.


FUN FACT: Bernardo Buontalenti, who I mentioned when telling you about the east corridor of the Uffizi, was a very versatile man who was also interested in cooking. It is said that he personally invented a delicacy that has been cherished ever since: gelato!

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