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Museums in Florence: the Uffizi Gallery

The palace housing the Uffizi Gallery was designed by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 for Cosimo I de’ Medici, who wanted to build new offices for the Florentine magistrates, hence the name “uffizi”. The construction was carried out between 1560 and 1580 by two different architects: first Alfonso Parigi, then Bernardo Buontalenti.
Initially, the “Palazzo degli Uffizi” was meant to host also the state archive (Archivio di Stato) and the grand duke’s courts, even if on the first floor, the so-called “piano nobile” (noble floor), Cosimo wanted to arrange his Art collection. Cosimo’s son Francesco I achieved his father’s plan and commissioned Buontalenti to build the “tribuna”, a small octagonal room where some of the most important masterpieces of the Medicis collection were disposed. Over the years the “tribuna” became one of the most appreciated attractions of the Grand Tour and the entire collection was enriched by many others artworks, mainly sculptures and paintings that after the extinction of the Medicis Dynasty remained in Florence by terms of the famous “family will” negotiated by the Palatine Electress Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici, the last heiress of the family.
The gallery was already open to visitors during the 16th and 17th century but only on demand. In 1765 it became a real museum.
According to Giorgio Vasari’s project the structure of the whole palace stresses on the perspective: the matching façades and the unbroken cornices give an idea of length and let the visitor admire the series of Doric columns leading to the Arno river.
In 2006 Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage has decided to expand the museum exhibition space from some 6,000 square metres to almost 13,000 so as to arrange many other artworks that are normally kept in the storage: this project is called “Nuovi Uffizi” (new offices).
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the museums we visit in our course of History of Art.

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