A tour of the Uffizi Gallery, the biggest Italian museum of Painting
Let yourself be accompanied in an Uffizi Gallery guided tour to discover the secrets of what is the largest museum of Painting in Italy, so that you can know the great masterpieces of the Italian and the European Renaissance.
The visit to the Uffizi Gallery represents an essential experience of living if you want to fully understand the concept of Florence as the homeland of that incredible cultural season worldwide known as Renaissance. Through the rooms of the museum it is possible to sense how, along the centuries, the search for an ideal beauty canon has always been the aspiration of the Florentines.
In almost one hundred exhibition rooms – that are treasure chests –, we see the beautiful paintings that date from the 13th to the 18th-century, from the ‘humanity’ of Giotto to the ‘nature’ of Caravaggio, through the elegance of Botticelli, Leonardo Da Vinci’s scientific insight, the ‘grace’ of Raphael and the ‘power’ of Michelangelo, in addition to the works of European painters.
The wonderful Gallery of sculptures
We begin our tour of the Uffizi from the Gallery on the second floor, a very refined space all decorated with ‘grotesques‘ in the vaults and with magnificent ancient Roman statues and busts, a collection that belonged to the Medici family. The first rooms that we see are those dedicated to the Middle Ages painting, where we have masterpieces by Giotto, the ‘founder’ of modern painting and whom, according to an effective definition by the writer Cennino Cennini, “changed the art of the painting from Greek to Latin and then reduce into modern ”. We will see the beautiful Annunciation by Simone Martini, one of the Uffizi’s most refined works. The gold leaf’s splendour will continue to surprise you in the Adoration of the Magi by Gentile da Fabriano.
The masterpieces by Botticelli
With the works by Filippo Lippi, you will discover where the skills of his most famous pupil – Sandro Botticelli – came from. From the latter, we will obviously admire his most famous works here kept: the Primavera and the Birth of Venus, two authentic ‘icons’ of what is a painting’s sanctuary. Of these two paintings, we will discover all the secrets and reasons because they keep fascinating visitors so much. We continue the Uffizi Gallery guided tour with the vision of the paintings made by some Flemish artists, such as Rogier Van Der Weyden and Hugo van der Goes, the latter author of the famous Portinari Triptych, a large altarpiece that has many secrets awaiting to be uncovered…
We move on towards the Tribune, the first environment of the Uffizi complex to be devised as a museum space – since 1580. The image of the four elements is emphasized within this octagonal space, a number that had a particular symbolic value for those who practised Alchemy in the 16th-century.
Reaching the centre of the gallery, we arrive at a panoramic point where you cannot resist the temptation to take pictures because of the beautiful view enjoyable from there; looking to the right, you will notice buildings such as Palazzo Vecchio with the Cathedral’s dome in the background; to the left, you will instead have a beautiful view of the Arno river and of the Florentine bridges series, among which the spectacular Ponte Vecchio stands out. Beyond the river, you can see some villas, the church of San Miniato al Monte, the refined Kaffeehaus – one of the first examples of its kind to be built in Italy –, and finally the Boboli Gardens.
Leonardo, Raphael and Michelangelo
After enjoying the panorama on the river, we will continue our Uffizi Gallery guided tour discovering the rooms keeping the works of other important artists and then reaching the room dedicated to the great Leonardo da Vinci, of whom we see the Adoration of the Magi and the Annunciation; in particular, we will discover how this latter work is linked – thanks to the iconography and numerology that it conceals –, to theological concepts that had particular importance at the artist’s time.
In one of the following rooms, we will admire the paintings made by the great protagonists of the Renaissance, that is, Raphael and Michelangelo. The placement of the two masters’ works in a single room will allow us to rediscover the bond that united them to the fate of the wealthy merchant who commissioned them: Agnolo Doni…
The works by the Veneto’s painters and by Caravaggio
Once finished the itinerary of the second floor, we visit the first level where, in the series of rooms that open out before us, we will be able to see the works of the Mannerists, namely the paintings of those artists who in the middle of the 16th-century had a wholly personal way to rework the lesson of the early-cinquecento great masters. Among them, the Rosso Fiorentino and Pontormo‘s paintings, the two most famous Mannerists, do not go unnoticed; then follow the works made by less eccentric artists and more related to the ” buona maniera” (the good way), such as Agnolo Bronzino, the painter of the Medici court and one of the most refined artists in the mid-16th-century. Another important collection preserved in the Uffizi is that of the Veneto painters; among these, the names of very famous artists stand out, such as Titian, Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese.
We will end our tour of the Uffizi Gallery by visiting the 17th-century rooms that house the works by Caravaggio, the father of ‘modern’ painting. Of the great Lombard artist we will see the famous Medusa – a striking painting for its expressive power and for the conceptual innovations it contains –, the Sacrifice of Isaac and finally the Bacchus. Thanks to the multitude of masterpieces – and the vast chronological span they cover – the Uffizi Gallery guided tour is not simply an itinerary inside a museum preserving paintings and sculptures, but instead represents a great journey into the history of beauty.