A Day at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence: What to See During Your Visit

What to see at the Uffizi in Florence.

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If you’re getting ready to discover the best museums in Italy, then Florence is certainly part of your itinerary already. And, of course, a visit to the most important art gallery in town should be in your plans too. If you’re not a fan of art, but still want to learn a little and check out some of the most important works in the country, then this guide tells you exactly what to see at the Uffizi Gallery when visiting the museum.


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What Paintings to See at the Uffizi

What to see at the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

Collaboration article
About the author: Steven writes for the website Arthistory.co about famous and not-so-famous paintings in Western Art.

Get Ready for Italy!

RESOURCES TO PLAN YOUR TRIP TO ITALY!

Book your flight: I use Skyscanner to compare prices before booking a plane ticket.

Book your accommodation: I’ve tried many different platforms for accommodation, but none of them beats the advantages of Booking.com.

Book your car: The best way to find an affordable car to rent is to use a powerful search engine that compares all the rental companies in the market. I use Discover Cars.

Book your tours: Live unforgettable adventures and cultural experiences with Get Your Guide. For instance, you can visit the Colosseum, discover Milan’s Duomo, explore Pompeii, or wander the streets of Florence.

Don’t forget travel insurance: Things can go wrong at times, but travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. I recommend Safety Wing for peace of mind.

About the Uffizi

what to see at the uffizi

The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most famous and largest museums in Europe which houses an enormous collection of Western art. It is regarded as one of the first modern museums and allows the visitor to see the evolution of Italian art over the last nine centuries.

Why Visit the Uffizi Gallery

what to see at the uffizi

The building itself is among the most beautiful in the world and is especially noteworthy for its collections of Italian paintings and Classical sculptures.

This museum gives the viewer a sense of the Italian Renaissance and offers a unique experience as the gallery is primarily organized by chronology so you experience Italian art through the various periods of Art History.

The Uffizi offers the finest collections of Italian Art in the world. 

Check out these organized tours of the Uffizi:

There is a lot to see during your visit to the Uffizi… if you don’t know where to start, check out these tours that provide useful details about the place and the works of art it exhibits:

About the Museum

what to see at the uffizi

The museum housed in the Uffizi is rated as one of the most visited in Europe and every year has some 2 million visitors. It is located in a former palace on the Piazzale degli Uffizi.

The building is an architectural gem and its two wings flank a courtyard that overlooks the River Arno. There are 45 rooms and halls filled with astonishing works of art.

The gallery is open from 8.15 am to 6.50 pm and the cost of a ticket is 20 Euros. Tickets must be pre-purchased, especially in the Summer and Spring as often the Uffizi is sold out.

Audioguides are also available for 5 Euros which focus on the highlights of the collection, which can be helpful as the sheer size of the collection can be overwhelming.

History of the Uffizi Museum

what to see at the uffizi

The Uffizi was originally designed by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 for Cosimo I de’ Medici and it was later extended. Originally it was built for the magistrates of Florence however it gradually became the home of the De Medici, the de-facto rulers of Florence.

They began to display their private collections on one of the floors.  As the family’s collection grew more and more rooms were dedicated to the display of their artworks.

The family opened their collection to the public in 1769 however only on request.

what to see at the uffizi

At the time of the Unification of Italy (1848-1871), control of the museum passed to the Italian state. Luckily the Uffizi was not damaged during WWII, however, it was damaged by a car bomb that was planted by the Italian Mafia in the early 1990s.

Overview of the Uffizi Collection

Fortitude is a painting by the Italian Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli,
Fortitude is a painting by the Italian Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli, Uffizi Gallery.

The Uffizi is famous for its collection of Italian Renaissance paintings. There are masterpieces from 13th to 17th century Italy and they include works by Cimabue, Giotto, Botticelli, Mantegna,  Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Caravaggio.

The museum allows the visitor to see the development of Renaissance art – in particular paintings from the Middle Ages to the Baroque period. 

Also of note are the many fine frescoes commissioned by the De Medici Dukes in the 18th century.

what to see at the uffizi

Sculptures from the Renaissance are also on display and there are masterpieces by Italian masters including Bernini.

There are many paintings from other countries such as The Netherlands, Germany, and France, however, the majority of the artworks on display are Italian in origin.

Many fine examples of Classical sculptures are held in the Gallery, especially in the Niobe room. This gallery holds many pieces of Etruscan sculptures and later Roman works. There is also a room dedicated to drawings by masters such as Leonardo and other Renaissance greats.

The Uffizi also has a very important collection of books and manuscripts and many fine examples of decorative arts, especially from the Renaissance.

Top Paintings to See at the Uffizi Gallery

In no particular order, these are the pieces I suggest you pay attention to when visiting the Uffizi:

Portraits Of The Duke And Duchess Of Urbino by Piero della Francesca

what to see at the uffizi
By Piero della Francesca – The Yorck Project (2002) 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei (DVD-ROM), distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH. ISBN: 3936122202., Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons.

This famous painting was completed by Piero della Francesca between 1473 and 1475​​. The diptych of the Dukes, one of the most important works of the Italian renaissance depicts duke Federigo da Montefeltro and his wife, Battista Sforza.

The double profile portraits are reminiscent of the classical portrait medals and give an ancient solemnity to the two figures.

She is richly dressed and has a high forehead, according to the fashion of the time, and the Duke, who lost his right eye during a tournament also has a broken nose.

Annunciation By Leonardo Da Vinci 

what to see at the uffizi
By Leonardo da Vinci – sAErNLFH1KFYmw — Google Arts & Culture, Public Domain, Wikimmedia Commons.

This painting is considered one of Leonardo’s youthful works and is likely his first commission. It depicts a flourishing garden, in front of a Renaissance palace.

Archangel Gabriel kneels before the Virgin proffering a lily.

Crepuscular light shapes the forms, bringing the scene together, and emphasizing the dark tree shapes in the distant background, dominated by the blended colors Leonardo loved.

Medusa By Caravaggio

what to see at the uffizi
By Caravaggio – FAFPqU12CekL8Q — Google Arts & Culture, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons.

Caravaggio was an Italian painter whose paintings have been characterized by art critics as combining a realistic observation of the human state (both physical and emotional) with a dramatic use of lighting, which greatly influenced Baroque painting.

This oil on canvas painting depicts a beheaded Medusa, just moments after she was executed by Perseus. 

Holy Family with St John by Michelangelo

what to see at the uffizi
By Michelangelo – Uffizi, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons.

Michelangelo was one of the most important Italian sculptors, painters architects, and poets of the high renaissance.

This painting is on a round wooden panel and is one of the only surviving panel paintings produced by Michelangelo as a mature artist.

It depicts the Holy Family with St. John and is believed to be a commission by a successful Florentine merchant Agnolo Doni.

He and his wife were cultivated collectors of art and used to commission works from the leading artists of their day, including portraits by Raphael.

La Primavera By Sandro Botticelli 

what to see at the uffizi
Di Sandro Botticelli – googleartproject. Public domain, Wikimedia Commons.

Sandro Botticelli was an Italian painter of the early renaissance. In addition to the mythological subjects for which he is best known, he completed a wide range of religious subjects and portraits.

La Primavera meaning Spring is a panel painting in tempera completed in the late 15th century. It has been described as “one of the most written about, and most controversial paintings in the world “.

It depicts figures from classical mythology in a garden, but no story has been found that brings this particular group together.

This painting may have been commissioned by one of the members of the famous Medici family. It draws from several classical literary sources, including Ovid’s and Lucretirus’s works, and it may also allude to a poem by Poliziano, the Medici house poet.

Birth Of Venus By Sandro Botticelli 

what to see at the uffizi
By Sandro Botticelli La nascita di Venere – Google Art Project.jpg, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons.

Botticelli’s posthumous reputation suffered until the late 19th century when he was rediscovered by pre-Raphaelites who stimulated a reappraisal of his work.

This famous painting depicts the goddess Venus arriving at the shore after her birth when she emerged from the sea fully grown.

This is, together with Primavera, the most famous Botticelli painting in the world. 

Venus of Urbino by Titian 

what to see at the uffizi
By Titian – bQGS8pnP5vr2Jg — Google Arts & Culture, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons.

Titian, an Italian painter, depicted a nude young woman, traditionally identified as Venus. She is reclining on a couch or bed in the sumptuous surroundings of a Renaissance palace.

Venus of Urbino has a powerful erotic charge, and it is seen as a portrait of a courtesan, or as a painting celebrating the marriage of its first owner.

Madonna and Child by Filippo Lippi 

what to see at the uffizi
By 9AE9qn4SE5pOPg — Google Arts & Culture, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons.

Lippi was an Italian painter of the quattrocento (15th century) and Carmelite Priest. This painting often referred to as The Ufizzi Madonna, is associated with the taste of the new age, as she is depicted as more fashionable than his earlier Madonnas.

Her eyes are pointed down and her hands are folded in prayers before child Jesus.

Judith Slaying Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi 

what to see at the uffizi
By Artemisia Gentileschi – Web Gallery of Art:   Image  Info about artwork, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons.

Artemisia Gentileschi was an Italian baroque painter who was producing professional work by the age of 15. She painted in the style of Caravaggio and is considered to be one of the most accomplished artists of the 17th century.

Judith Splaying Holofernes is a painting depicting a scene from the apocryphal Book of Judith in the Old Testament, which recounts the assassination of the Assyrian general Holofernes by the Israelite heroine Judith.

Early feminist critics interpreted the painting as a form of revenge following Gentileschi’s well-documented rape by Agostino Tassi, a landscape painter.

Flora by Titian 

what to see at the uffizi
By Titian – Uffizi, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons.

Flora was a nymph bride of Zephyr, whose story is told by Ovid.

This painting by an Italian painter of the Renaissance, Titian, is part of the research into the image of feminine beauty that began at the start of the 16th century.

Flora is depicted wearing a dress in ancient style and holding a bouquet of spring flowers.

Madonna with the Long Neck by Parmigianino 

what to see at the uffizi
By Parmigianino – gAEsEn4eJXVHyg — Google Arts & Culture, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons.

Parmigianino was an Italian Mannerist painter whose work is characterized by a refined sensuality and elongation of forms.

Madonna with the Long Neck depicts the Virgin Mary seated on a high pedestal holding a large baby Jesus on her lap.

Six angels are crowded together on her right. Madonna herself is of hardly human proportions she is almost twice the size of the angels to her right while baby Jesus seems as if he is about to fall at any moment.

Madonna del Cardellino by Raphael 

what to see at the uffizi
By Raphael – oAFhnMjj7HippQ — Google Arts & Culture, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons.

Raphael was an Italian painter and architect of the high renaissance whose work is admired for its clarity of form, ease of composition, and achievement of the neo-platonic ideal of human grandeur.

Raphael, Da Vinci, and Michelangelo formed a traditional trinity of great masters of the art of that period. This painting, a wedding gift for the artist’s friend, depicts Mary, Christ, and John the Baptist, who all fit into a geometrical triangle.

Mary’s red clothes signify the passion of Christ while the blue symbolizes the church.

As you can see, there is a lot to see and discover during your visit to the Uffizi… if you still don’t know where to start, check out some of these tours that will provide a deeper insight:

what to see at the uffizi

Are you visiting Florence soon?
Let me know in the comments below!

You might also want to read these Italy blogs:

Basic Things to Know about Florence, Italy

Florence is the capital of the Tuscany region in the upper central area of Italy, only 2-4 hours from the main northern cities in the country, including Venice, Milan, and Turin. Florence is also a very popular winter break destination in Europe, among many others, such as Berlin, Budapest, and Amsterdam!

The capital of Italy, Rome, is about 90 minutes by train from Florence. The city’s main train station, Santa Maria Novella, has several daily connections to many other cities and smaller towns in the country.

How to Get to Florence and Moving Around

what to see at the uffizi
SMN stands for the name of the main station, Santa Maria Novella.

The best way to get to Florence is by train. The country has one of the best train networks in Europe including high-speed trains but also cheaper options, including regional and intercity trains.

It is possible to fly to Florence from other Italian cities as well, Amerigo Vespucci Airport is the second busiest airport in the region, after Pisa International Airport.

It receives regular flights from Athens, Frankfurt, Madrid, Vienna, and other places in Europe while there are seasonal flights from other European countries arriving from May to September.

It is also possible to travel by long-distance bus or to rent a car to move around.

what to see at the uffizi
Trains remain the most efficient way to move around in Italy.

Even when Florence is a very pedestrian-friendly town, quite compact and easy to visit on foot, a car comes in handy for those who intend to visit the broader region of Tuscany or tour the local wineries and nearby towns.

Where to Stay in Florence

what to see at the uffizi
Us at the Boboli Gardens, Florence.

Recommended places to stay in Florence:

About the author: Steven writes for the website Arthistory.co about famous and not-so-famous paintings in Western Art.

Pin this Guide to Know What to See at the Uffizi Gallery!

what to see at the uffizi

About the author of this blog:

Gabi Ancarola | The Tiny Book

Gabi Ancarola

Gabi has been living in Crete for the last five years. On the island, she juggles being a solo mom, hosting culinary tours in summer, translating, and freelance writing.
She’s written for Greek Reporter, published several travel guides about Greece, and had more glasses of frappe than any regular person would be able to handle.

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