Granduca Francisco de’ Medici, son of Cosimo I, commissioned the construction of the Uffizi Gallery. It was initially designed by one of the leading architect and painter of the 15th century, Giorgio Vasari and built in the year 1581 under his guidance.
This Florence museum has a corridor which connects it to Pitti Palace, which became a Medici Family residence when the Pitti family fell into bad times. This secret corridor runs above the Ponte Vecchio, which gave the Medici Family the privacy to attend the mass without walking through the streets. There are many towers and buildings which later opens into the Boboli Gardens. The construction of the corridor was completed within 5 months to celebrate the wedding of Cosimo’s son, Francesco with Giovanna of Austria.
It was initially planned to hold admirative and judiciary offices and not for keeping masterpieces. During the years when this building was being constructed, the Medici Family had a huge influence over Florence. Many buildings were demolished for make space for its construction, one of which was a Romanesque Church. It’s remains of which can be found in the lower level of the street called Via della Ninna. The arches, columns and a part of the aisle are visible from across the street.
As Florence is known as the birthplace of Renaissance, the influences of which can also be seen in the architecture of this U-shaped gallery. Some of the best pieces of Italian Art can be found in Uffizi Gallery.
Giorgio Vasari passed away during the time the construction was going on and could not complete the construction of the Uffizi gallery. It was taken up by another renowned artist Bernardo Buontalenti.
Some interesting facts about the Uffizi Gallery
- The famous works of the entire Renaissance period can be found in this one museum in Florence.
- There are 45 rooms in the Uffizi Museum and holds some prominent art pieces which include – The Birth of Venus, Adoration of the Magi, Primavera, to just name a few.
- The masterpieces in the gallery are from other countries as like Holland, Spain, and Germany, not just from Italy.
- In the year 1966, Florence faced a terrible flood, but the irreplaceable art pieces of Uffizi Gallery were rescued by locals and tourists before the floodwaters could reach the Gallery. The volunteers who saved the artworks were acknowledged and were called ‘Mud angels.’
- In the year 1911, The Mona Lisa went missing from the Louvre in France. Leonard Vincenzo, who claimed to be in possession of the masterpiece tried to sell it to the Uffizi Gallery Director, who was also a wealthy art dealer, two years after it was lost.
- Though Leonard Vincenzo claimed that he was returning The Mona Lisa to Florence, where it rightfully belonged, he was arrested. Meanwhile, The Mona Lisa adorned the walls of the Uffizi Gallery, as long as it took to complete the paperwork.
The Uffizi Gallery in Florence has stood the test of time and holds within it the secrets of the bygone era. The Gallery in itself it a masterpiece and attracts art lovers from around the globe.