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About the 'new' Uffizi Gallery, Florence - Il Progetto dei nuovi Uffizi

The Uffizi is one of the world's oldest art galleries in the world, and it's certainly on everyone's list when they visit Italy ... a detour to the Uffizi in Florence is a must for anyone with even a passing interest in the Italian Renaissance. Because the greatest ever flowering of European artistic and cultural talent not only happened here in Florence, it hangs on the walls of one of the world's great galleries.

There's just one problem - the medieval Palazzo degli' Uffizi (literally 'the palace of the offices') a rambling collection of admittedly beautiful buildings next to the River Arno, just isn't big enough. At any given time only a fraction of the collection, which began to be amassed by the all-powerful Medici family in 1581 and which went open as one of the world's first public galleries in 1765, can be seen by the public. There are just too many masterpieces and not enough space. And with a collection including works by Lippi, Botticelli, Leonardo and Michelangelo, that is something of a cultural crime. And the paintings are just one element of the collections. As well as Piero della Francesca, Giotto, Masaccio, Paolo Uccello, Mantenga, Bellini, Titian, Raphael and Caravaggio, there is important antique sculpture, mostly of the Roman period.

Since the end of World War II, if not before, the Florentine authorities have been agonising over how to make more of the Uffizi collection. By the 1990s, visitors were beginning to complain about the number of closed rooms, the interminable queues and the general unfriendliness of the experience. And where were the artworks you'd queued up to see? Well some of the best statuary would be in the Bargello, with lots more loaned around the various Florence museums and galleries. The lustre was further dimmed by a car bomb explosion in 1993, which killed five people and severely damaged parts of the museum, including the Niobe room and its neoclassical interior.

A design competition was launched, with a brief to open up much more the building (a necessarily constrained space in the heart of Florence) while respecting the 'perfection' of Giorgio Vasari's original 1560s building. The first elements of the 'Nuovo Uffizi' emerged in 1998, with newly restored and repaired artworks, and work has continued, slowly, steadily ever since. Recent additions include a new wing, cafe, bookshop and multimedia information centre. The current stage of the project is an expansion of exhibition space from 6000 square metres in 2006 to 13,000 in 2008. All the while, the city fathers have aimed to 'enhance the extraordinary intrinsic qualities of Vasari’s geometry, enhancing its compositional rigour'. But you don't double a medieval building in size without upsetting some people ... and there has been considerable controversy over some of the plans. The creation of new stairwells and lifts in the core of the Uffizi, the seven-storey 'bed frame' designed by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki to replace the existing bottleneck of an exit.

But then you don't undertake a thoroughgoing renewal of Italy's museums and galleries (the Uffizi is just one of dozens currently on the go, with Italy determined to supplant the Louvre and the Prado at the top of the European cultural tree) without upsetting a few people. By mid-2008 there were still large turquoise areas on Nuovo Uffizi plan still marked 'not in use'. There is an awful lot of development and fun in store yet (April 2011 - there are some signs of life - see blog post.

Another update - the 17th of December 2011 will see the official opening of 8 rooms of the 'Uffizi Nuovi' - see blog post here.

Tickets for the Uffizi Gallery

Reserve Uffizi Gallery tickets

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Ticket types, opening times, how to gain admission


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Coronavirus in Italy

IMPORTANT ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS

Please note that in order to use your tickets you MUST be able to provide one of the following documents!

  • - Covid19 Green Pass certification (in digital or paper format) able to attest - together with a valid identity document - that they have received at least one dose of one of the vaccines authorized by the EMA or AIFA (Comirnaty by Pfizer-BioNtech, Vaxzevria by Astrazeneca, Janssen by Johnson & Johnson and Moderna)
  • - or have tested negative to a molecular or rapid swab in the last 48 hours
  • - or have recovered from Covid19 in the previous six months.
  • Exemptions: COVID-19 Green Certification is not required for children excluded by age from the vaccination campaign (under 12 years of age) and those exempt on the basis of appropriate medical certification.
Visitors from Israel, Canada, Japan and the United States

With reference to people coming from the countries of Israel, Canada, Japan and the United States, it should be noted that in relation to vaccination certificates issued by the health authorities of these countries, in accordance with the provisions of EU Recommendation no. 2021/912 of 20 May 2021, they must include at least the following data:

  • - Identifying data of the person;
  • - Data regarding the type of vaccine and date(s) of administration.

Please note that certificates must be accepted if they are in Italian, English, French or Spanish. If the certificate is not issued in bilingual form and not in one of the four languages indicated in the Order of the Minister of Health of 18 June 2021, it must be accompanied by a sworn translation.

This documentation must be presented at the entrance when the body temperature is checked.

PLEASE NOTE: If you do not have a Green Pass and a valid identity document, you will not be able to access and your ticket will not be refunded. For further information www.dgc.gov.it

Due to Coronavirus many venues and events are applying strict entry conditions. These will vary by venue but common examples are:

  • You must wear a compliant CE mask (Ordinanza RT n.48) which covers both mouth and nose.
  • Disposable single-use gloves must be worn at all times.
  • Hands (or gloves) must be cleaned with a disinfectant gel on entry.
  • Your temperature (which will be measured on entry) must not be above 37.5°C.
  • Visitors must maintain a social distance of 1.8m at all times.
  • There may be a maximum visitor limit in place - in some cases this may lead to delays

Any conditions may be changed without notice as Italian regulations are updated.

If you are denied entrance because of failure to meet entry conditions, no refunds will be available.