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Visita il Mugello, culla dei Medici, a due passi da Firenze e le bellezze toscane

Visiting Tuscany



Museo degli Uffizi

Firenze owes a great deal to Anna Ludovica, the last descendant of the Medici family, because she stipulated in her will that no part of her property should ever leave the city, thus ensuring that the art works accumulated by her family over a period of three centuries remained in Firenze. The result is a collection of treasures which makes the Uffizi the oldest gallery in Europe, one of the most widely-visited in the world, and the second in Italy after the Musei Vaticani.

The museum is situated in the Palazzo degli Uffizi, on the southern side of Palazzo Vecchio, and extends as far as the Lungarno, creating an oblong piazza called Piazzale degli Uffizi. Built on the orders of Cosimo I, it was designed around about 1560 by his architect and Minister of Culture, Vasari, as the offices (Uffizi) of the 13 magistracy which until then had been dotted around the city. It was built as an adjunct to Palazzo Vecchio and was further confirmation of the centralised power of Cosimo I.

Cosimo's son, Francesco I, decided in 1518 to exhibit the treasures of the Grand Duke in the rooms of the Uffizi, and had the tribune of the Uffizi especially built by Buontalenti. Since then, thanks above all to the artistic sensibility first of the Medici and then of the Lorraine dynasty, the gallery has accumulated antique sculptures, Italian and European painting masterpieces ranging from the XIII to the XVIII century, collections of prints and antique drawings …

It is impossible to list all of the masterpieces exhibited in this gallery, so one has been chosen to represent them all: La Primavera by Botticelli (1445-1510), one of the most-widely admired paintings in the world, which enchants the viewer with its perfect harmony of forms.
There is still uncertainty as to when it was painted but it is presumed to have been around 1485. La Primavera was commissioned together with his Venere by Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco dei Medici for his villa at Castello, where it remained until it was placed on display in the Uffizi in 1815.

It consists of nine figures in a luxuriant arboreal setting. In the top-centre of the picture there is a winged Cupid shooting an arrow, under whom there is a female figure who is looking to her right towards three dancers. To their right (on the extreme left of the picture) there is a youthful figure who is gazing up into the trees. On the right-hand side of the picture we can see a female figure adorned with flowers, close to whom there is another veiled female figure being grabbed by another winged male figure. This is one of the many readings of this enigmatic painting.

The Uffizi have recently been undergoing a historic transformation in that with the creation of the Grandi Uffizi, the exhibition space is being doubled in order to add a further two thousand works to the two thousand already on display, using modern exhibition criteria and providing services in order to make a visit to this vast gallery easier. All the space vacated by the State Archives in 1988 will be turned over to the gallery, and by 2002 the new rear exit designed by the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki will have been completed.
It is estimated that by 2004 the number of visitors that can be admitted to the Uffizi at any one time will have increased from the current 650 to approximately 2000.

The estimated cost of the work, which has been approved and is being financed by the Heritage Ministry, is 110 billion lira. The work should be completed in 2004.

Picture by Sandro Santioli
Translated by Jeremy Carden

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