The Uffizi Gallery is one of the main museums in Florence, and among the oldest and most famous art museums of Europe. The collection of works in the Uffizi Gallery cannot be compared to any other world collection and is probably the only one to have just masterpieces of exceptional value.
For many, a visit to Florence just isn't complete without some time spend in the famous Uffizi Gallery ("Galleria degli Uffizi" in Italian). After all, there's nowhere else on earth that you can sit in the center of a room full of gigantic Botticelli paintings and just drift off into a world of colorful myths and legends.
Now, most of those paintings might not be familiar to you by name, but trust me - you'll recognize most of them from even the art history classes you barely paid attention to. The Botticelli paintings are some of the most famous in the Uffizi, and even if you know them well you won't be prepared for how absolutely, breath-takingly huge they are in person. Each one is massive. And the Michelangelo painting is the only known panel painting by the Renaissance master to have to survived. On top of the eye-popping bright colors which are preserved in it, it also happens to be unusual in that it's round.
But even aside from the glorious art hanging on the walls in the Uffizi Gallery, there is the building itself. This ornate palace once held the offices of the Medici family which ruled Florence for years. Over time, it came to include not just the administrative offices but also spaces for the art the Medici family had collected - and even many that had been commissioned by the Medici. When the family no longer ruled Florence, the art it had gathered became the property of the city and became the basis for the Uffizi collection. Open to visitors since the 16th century, the Uffizi Gallery is one of the oldest museums in the world.
The Uffizi building is in a long U-shape, with the entrance opening from the Piazza della Signoria and the closed end pointing toward the Arno River. The semi-enclosed courtyard between the two wings of the building look almost like a narrow street, and the niches on each side of the courtyard are filled by statue portraits of some of the great Florentines.
Unfortunately, everyone wants to see the Uffizi, and most of them will be there at the same time that you're there (or at least it'll feel like that). Lines to get into the museum can be hours long, and waiting outside in the hot summer Tuscan sun can be horrible. And who wants to spend a whole day of your precious vacation time in a line? So while I highly recommend a stop at the Uffizi, I even more highly recommend that you make a reservation in advance.