Uffizi Palace

The Uffizi from the other side of the Arno river

The Uffizi Palace – Palazzo degli Uffizi Houses – the greatest collection of Florentine art and the State archives of Tuscany.

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

Galleria degli Uffizi

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 skills in overcoming the difficulties of building on the 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.

Palazzo degli Uffizi Courtyard

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 story of the palace remodeled 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.

Uffizi Hall

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 riverfront, which is opened in a Venetian window on the ground floor.

The two wings are composed of long arcades supporting three upper stories, 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.

Modeled 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 Location

Uffizi Palace Address: Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze, Italy. Get help with directions using the map provided below:

Palazzo degli Uffizi Map

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