The Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Preparing your trip to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence

The Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi in Italian) is not only one of Italy’s most important and most visited museums but it is also one of the largest and most famous museums in the world, and is especially known for its vast collection of Italian Renaissance art. Since its opening to the public in 1765, the museum has hosted numerous exhibitions. One in particular, called “Water as Microscope of Nature. Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester”, which marked the 500th anniversary of da Vinci’s death is probably one of the most significant exhibitions in the museum’s history. It presents a large number of works and studies by the man often referred to as the “universal genius”!

If you only go to one museum in Florence then the Uffizi Gallery is the one to see. It has 101 rooms housing some of the most important and famous paintings in the history of art. The museum contains notable works by Italian masters such as Giotto, da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli, in addition to many paintings by European painters (mainly German, Flemish and Dutch). Paintings are presented in chronological order; it’s a veritable artistic voyage through time!

The Uffizi Gallery is located in the heart of Florence, between the Piazza della Signoria and the River Arno. Conceived by Vasari in 1560 and completed in 1580, the Palazzo degli Uffizi originally played host to the administrative offices of the Medici family and the wealthy private collection of the Florentine family. The building is made up of two wings forming a U around the building’s Piazzale Centrale and is adorned with sculptures of some of the Tuscan city’s most famous sons: Galileo, Machiavelli, da Vinci, Dante, Petrarch, Vespucci… It is connected to the Palazzo Pitti via the Vasari Corridor, a long passageway that connects the two buildings and which crosses the Arno at the Ponte Vecchio. It also connects two of the city’s most iconic symbols; the Palazzo Vecchio and the Rive Arno. At the time, it allowed the Medicis to safely go from one palace to the other without ever having to put a foot outside!

The Uffizi’s collections are divided among two floors; with rooms assigned to a particular painter or period. Here you will find some of the greatest masterpieces by da Vinci, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Raphael, Giotto, Filippo Lippi, Veronese, Caravaggio and many others!

The Uffizi Gallery
The Uffizi Gallery

Since 1997, expansion work has been ongoing to increase the number of showrooms to 101, so depending on when you visit some rooms may be closed for refurbishment.

“The birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli and “The Adoration of the Magi” by Leonardo da Vinci are to the Uffizi Gallery, what the “Mona Lisa” and the “Venus de Milo” are to the Louvre!

"The Birth of Venus" by Sandro Botticelli
“The Birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli
"The Adoration of the Magi" by Leonardo da Vinci
“The Adoration of the Magi” by Leonardo da Vinci

Tips and advice for a successful visit

Which ticket to get?

Every day, hundreds of visitors flock to the Uffizi from around the world to admire its impressive collection of almost 1,500 masterpieces by Renaissance painters! Due to this large number of visitors, we highly recommend you book your tickets on-line and in advance. During high season, it’s not unheard of to be waiting in the queue for anything between two to four hours! It is definitely worthwhile to pay a little extra to get a skip-the-line ticket; when you see the length of the queues, you’ll be glad you did!

Choose the option that suits you best depending on how much time you’d like to spend visiting the Museum.

Other than the title and author of the paintings exhibited, very little other information is provided so we highly recommend either an audio-guide or a guided tour to fully appreciate the wonders on display before you.

Choose carefully the day and time of your visit

– As both museums are closed on Mondays, try to avoid going on Tuesday mornings as this is the most crowded morning of the week.

– If you’re staying in Florence during the summer months, it’s good to know that the Uffizi has a late closing at 10pm (with last entry at 8pm); this can be one of the best times to visit if you’d like to avoid the crowds.

– If you decide to get skip-the-line tickets, Wednesday or Thursday mornings at opening time are also generally good times to visit. Not only do you benefit from priority access but you will have started your visit well before the madding crowds inundate the museum!

If you plan your visit strategically, then you can get to admire the museum’s most famous works in relative peace and quiet before heading on to the less-crowded rooms.

Avoid peak hours! These are generally from 10am to noon and 2pm to 4pm, especially during the month of May which happens to be the museum’s busiest month!

– If at all possible, aim for November to February when the museum is much less crowded.

– Try also to avoid the first Sunday of each month when access is free to everyone; the queues are literally endless!

Why are the queues so long?

For safety reasons, the Museum may only admit a maximum of 900 people at any one time. Having easily reached that number of visitors by 9am, no more visitors are admitted until the first wave starts to leave. Even going quickly, it still takes at least 1 or 2 hours to tour the museum and so, by the time the first morning visitors are leaving, the queues are already very long.

Address:

Galleria degli Uffizi

Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6

50122 Firenze – Italy

Telephone: +39 055 294883

Opening hours of the Uffizi Gallery:

Open: every day from Tuesday to Sunday, 8.15am to 6.30pm (closed Mondays)

(The ticket office closes at 6.05pm)

Closed:                        – on Mondays

                                     – 1st January / 1st May / December 25th

Free admission:          – Every first Sunday of the month

How to get there?

If you find yourself in the historic centre of the city, the Uffizi Gallery is only a short 10-minute walk away. All entrances to the museum are via the Piazza degli Uffizi (the museum’s inner courtyard), If you are coming from the Piazza della Signoria you will find the entrance for reserved ticket holders on the left. If you don’t have a ticket, then the ticket office and its entrance are further up and on the right (closer to the river).

If you’re coming by public transport, you can get to the museum by tram or by taking bus lines 6, C1 and C3.

The nearest stations of the Uffizi Gallery are:

Ponte Vecchio is a 1-minute walk away. (62m)

Galleria Degli Uffizi is a 4-minute walk. (234m)

Condotta is also a 4-minute walk. (254m)

Porta Rossa is a 5-minute walk away. (307m)

Orsanmichele is a 6-minute walk away. (341m)

On-site services:

Audio guides are available in 5 different languages: French, English, Italian, German and Japanese

– The Uffizi’s cafeteria (Caffeteria Galleria Degli Uffizi) is located on the terrace of the second floor above the Loggia dei Lanzi. Here you can satisfy your appetite while enjoying beautiful views of Florence and the Palazzo Vecchio!

The Caffeteria Galleria Degli Uffizi’s terrace
The Caffeteria Galleria Degli Uffizi’s terrace

Cloakrooms are located near the entrance. You will need to leave your bags, umbrellas and backpacks. The cloakroom is free of charge.

Bookshops: The museum has a number of bookshops where you can buy guidebooks and souvenirs before or after your visit! Please be aware that you cannot access the bookshops from the street, you’ll need a ticket. (There are three bookshops in total: 2 at the entrance and one at the exit.)

Please note that food and drinks (including water) are prohibited within the confines of the gallery.

It is also forbidden to take pictures inside the museum. You may get away with taking shots with your mobile phone but don’t count on it and always ask the staff first. (If they acquiesce, make sure to turn off the flash and mute the phone’s shutter sound!)

Accessibility

The Uffizi Gallery is fully accessible to people in wheelchairs. The museum’s lifts (although small), provide easy access to the upper floors. Before using the elevators or the toilets however, it is necessary to contact the staff, in the latter case in order to procure a key.

For the curious, here’s an interesting article about the famous painting “Vase of flowers” by Jan Van Huysum, stolen by the Nazis and claimed by the Uffizi Florence!