Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy

Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery, housed in the former office of the University of Florence’s law faculty, is one of Italy’s most important art museums and the largest gallery in Europe. It houses a collection of Italian Renaissance and pre-Renaissance paintings, drawings and sculpture that is unparalleled in the world.

The museum was founded in 1879 by the banker and art collector Benci di Cione, who had a passion for the arts and wished to bring them to the attention of the Florentines. He built the Uffizi into one of the great public museums of the world, and it remains so to this day.

The building itself is a masterpiece designed by the architect Giorgio Vasari in 1560 to serve as the headquarters of the city’s podestà, or chief magistrate. It has played many roles over the years, including offices, a law faculty, and the headquarters of the University of Florence. In 1998 it became the home of the Uffizi Gallery, which now contains more than 15,000 works of art. The Gallery is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 8:15 a.m. to 6:15 p.m., and on Mondays and holidays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

There are about 15,000 works of art in the permanent collection, plus a number of special exhibits that change every month. The permanent collection is organized into four main sections: Early Italian Painting, Late Italian Painting, Sculpture and Drawings.

The gallery also houses the Vasari Corridor, a series of rooms where the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance lived and worked. It’s a wonderful, low-key place to visit, and a great place to start when you’re planning a trip to Florence.

The gallery is a 10-minute walk from the Santa Maria Novella train station, which has trains to and from the airport (about every 30 minutes) and to/from downtown (every 2-3 hours).

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