No visit to Florence is complete without taking in the Uffizi Gallery, located right next to Piazza Signoria and steps away from the Palazzo Vecchio. The Uffizi remains one of the most popular and coveted museums: it holds thousands upon thousands of famous works of sculpture and paintings, making it one of the top art museums in the world.
The Uffizi were the interconnected offices of the Florentine administration under the patronage of the Medici family. Cosimo I de’ Medici wanted a place where not only his council could meet, but where he could also store his incredible stash of art.
So he hired the famous biographer, artist and architect Giorgio Vasari to create the massive structure situated on the banks of the Arno River. Not only were the offices a place where the administrators of Florence could work, but they were also the gathering spot of artistic giants like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti.
The entrance to the Uffizi Gallery — Photo courtesy of John Menard
Today, the Uffizi houses some of the most recognizable works of art in Western culture, including works by both da Vinci and Michelangelo, as well as arguably the most famous paintings by Botticelli: The Birth of Venus and La Primavera. Paintings by Titian are also here, including the unforgettable Venus of Urbino, one of the greatest inspirations for Modern artists the world over.
The Uffizi is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Florence, and there are very few times that you will not see a long line waiting to enter. You can skip them by booking your tickets online, and by looking at the website you can see which works are currently within the museum and which have been lent out to others around the world.
The museum also charges more during certain times of the year, so having a quick look online before you head to that side of the city can help you decide on how much cash to bring.
Michelangelo's "Tondo Doni" is a highlight of the museum — Photo courtesy of Victor R. Ruiz
The Uffizi is open Tuesday to Sunday from 8:15 a.m. to 6:50 p.m., but it's closed on all Mondays. It’s also closed on Easter, Christmas and the first of the year. Keep in mind that the ticket office closes around 6 p.m., however, so you will want to make sure you arrive before then.
Ticket prices increase after the first of November, costing 11 euro to enter. However, if you're under 26 and able to provide a school I.D., you can reduce the price to 5,50 euro. You will also want to pay in cash, as the museum only accepts credit cards in the bookshop.