The Uffizi Palace - Palazzo degli Uffizi Houses
- the greatest collection of Florentine art and the State archives of
Cosimo I de’ Medici in 1559 commissioned the court architect, Giorgio
Vasari, to design the palace, intending that it should house the public offices of the State,
hence the name Uffizi, meaning offices.
Uffizi Palace History
By 1564 the part adjoining the Palazzo Vecchio was complete, and in 1565 Cosimo instructed
Vasari to build the private passageway known as the Corridoio Vasariano linking the Palazzo
Vecchio and Uffizi to the new Medici residence, the Palazzo Pitti on the far side of the River Arno.
This was completed in a record five months. Vasari employed
considerable engineering skill in overcoming the difficulties of building on sandy, unstable
ground close to the river. He used iron to reinforce the building, which allowed him to insert
large and frequent apertures, and he incorporated remains of the 11th-century Romanesque church
of S Piero Scheraggio.
When Vasari died in 1574, the supervision of the work passed to
Bernardo Buontalenti and Alfonso di Santi Parigi. The building was completed soon after 1580.
Francesco I de’ Medici had the second storey of the palace remodelled to display the
works of art belonging to the Medici family.
Buontalenti completed the design of the Galleria and designed the
Tribuna, the octagonal domed hall where the works of greatest value were kept. He also built
the unusual side entrance known as the Porta delle Suppliche and the theatre in the eastern
part of the palace, where the Gabinetto dei Disegni is housed today.
The Uffizi occupies a U-shaped site between the Palazzo Vecchio and the
Lungarno. Two long, narrow wings stand on either side of a narrow piazza and are linked by a
short façade on the river-front, which is opened in a Venetian window on the
The two wings are composed of long arcades supporting three upper
storeys, and the façade is divided into regular units of three bays. Vasari’s design elegantly
frames and enhances the view both to the Palazzo Vecchio and to the river.
The palace is built in Fossato stone, similar to the
pietra serena that was used for many Florentine buildings. The Uffizi was the
largest building project in Florence of its period and the first Florentine building to be
conceived as a piece of urban design.
Modelled on Michelangelo’s Biblioteca Laurenziana at San Lorenzo, it
was intended as a faithful return to the principles of ancient architecture. It was also the
first building designed as a museum, and its series of long, well-lit, interconnecting
galleries served as a prototype for many subsequent museums and galleries.
Palazzo degli Uffizi Map&Location
Uffizi Palace Address: Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze, Italy. Get
help with directions using the map provided bellow:
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