The Uffizi was originally the offices created to accommodate the offices of the Florentine magistrates. The project commissioned by Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany planned to display prime art works of the Medici collections on the piano nobile; the plan was carried out by his son, Grand Duke Francesco I. He commissioned from the architect Buontalenti the design of the Tribuna degli Uffizi that collected a series of masterpieces in one room, and was a highly influential attraction of a Grand Tour. Over the years, more sections of the palace were recruited to exhibit paintings and sculpture collected or commissioned by the Medici. After the house of Medici was extinguished, the art treasures remained in Florence by terms of the famous Patto di famiglia negotiated by Anna Maria Luisa, the last Medici heiress; it formed one of the first modern museums.
The Uffizi is “u” shaped running from Palazzo Vecchio to the River. You can see the connection of the Palazzo to the Uffizi to the Ponte Vecchio and then through to the royal residence on the other side of the river. As you enter you see the Medici crest to remind you of who’s boss and then two flights of stairs to a gallery running the length and back again of the building. The ceiling is ornate with picto-grams of important people lining the edge of the ceiling.
Once inside, each room is filled with the art collected by the Medicis starting with the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance. Here is a tiny sample.
Although this is off peak the crowds in the Uffizi made it uncomfortable and the guided tour seemed rushed so we handed in our radios at the end of the top floor and made our way through the lower floors without the pressure of the tour. Here we saw the unfinished work of Leonardo Da Vinci “the Adoration of the Magi” for the high altar of the church San Donato a Scopeto and the finished picture by Filippino Lippi a contemporary and competitor of Da Vinci.
The benefit of the tour is to get inside without waiting 5 hours in queues outside. Back to the Apartment again to prepare for the next day.