If you’re going to Florence and you’ve never been before, you’ve got the Uffizi museum on your list of things to do. I know you do. Everyone does. And there’s a reason for it – it’s one of the single greatest collections of art anywhere, and the only place you can walk into a roomful of Botticellis (breathtaking) and see a bright and round painting of the holy family by Michelangelo (lovely). At the moment, it’s also going to be a place you’ll be looking at some scaffolding.
Controversial building work on Florence’s famed Uffizi Gallery got under way this week following years of polemics. A central section of the gallery has been curtained off as workmen began erecting scaffolding and a crane but officials highlighted that access to the museum’s renowned artworks would not be affected.
The expansions to the Gallery will provide the space to show over 800 more works than are currently displayed, though the controversy over making changes to what is also an historic building have kept plans in discussion (rather than implementation) since the 1960s. A former director of the museum would have preferred a “softer approach” toward the building, as she believes the changes “are disrupting the historic context.”
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The Uffizi was begun in 1560 and originally housed the offices of the government run by the powerful Medici family – “uffici” meaning offices.
A completion date for the work is only tentative, and it’s not until 2013. Until that time, you might be better off buying postcards to remember the view you were supposed to have, rather than the view you got.
The Uffizi Gallery is open Tuesday-Sunday, 8:15am until 6:50pm, and closed Mondays, New Year’s Day, May 1st and Christmas Day. Admission is €6.50, although there are reduced fare tickets for €3.25 for EU citizens between the ages of 18-25, and some Italian schoolteachers. There is also free admission for EU citizens younger than 18 or older than 65, Italian schoolkids (accompanied by a teacher), teachers and students of certain subjects (including architecture and fine arts), and tour guides or interpreters who are actively leading a tour. Read more details about the Uffizi Gallery before you go.