Florence: Art

Florence is strongly associated with art and architecture - it's the cradle of the Renaissance - and that's (mostly) down to the Medici family who I mentioned in my Boboli Gardens post last week. Michelangelo, Leonardo (da Vinci), Raphael and Donatello were all supported by the Medici family.

To prove they didn't just support the Ninja Turtles (sorry!), Boticelli, Fra Angelico and Vasari, as well as countless others, were also commissioned by the family to produce art for them during their reign.

Cosimo I de' Medici  asked Vasari to begin work on the building that is now the Uffizi Gallery - Vasari being the same person responsible for The Last Judgement on the ceiling of the Duomo - though, originally its purpose was as offices for magistrates.

Nowadays the Uffizi Gallery is one of Florence's most popular attractions and is home to a lot of the works the Medici family commissioned. (I told you that that are synonymous with art in Florence!) Make sure you book your tickets in advance as queues to get in can vary from an hour to five hours! How long you need depends on how much you love your Renaissance art - the collection in the Uffizi Gallery is vast, and includes many famous pieces.

 Botticelli's Birth of Venus

Michelangelo's Doni Tondo
You can safely say, if it's covered in glass or has a crowd gathered around it, well it's going to be a masterpiece you're about to view. (Though that's subjective, of course. I prefer my art to be a bit more modern.)

Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze is the other gallery in Florence where the crowds gather - that's because it's home to Michelangelo's David.

Classed as a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture, David dominates the Accademia. He's that important that there are two copies of him elsewhere in Florence. There's one outside the Palazzo della Signoria, which is a stone's throw away from the Uffizi Gallery, and the other is at Piazzale Michelangelo, which is near San Miniato al Monte.

Again, book your tickets in advance, though you might find that you're not there that long as it's quite a small place. We spent about 40 minutes there, in total, whilst we spent around two hours in the Uffizi Gallery (though the Uffizi Gallery was closing so we had to leave regardless).

Art dominates Florence, and we did start to feel a bit overloaded after visiting the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia, but there are other options if you're in Florence. The Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Vecchio and the Bargello Museum all house collections, and if we'd had more time I would have definitely added the Palazzo Vecchio to our itinerary.

Unlike London though where art galleries tend to be free and you pay if you wish to see a special exhibition, in Florence it's a bit different. The Uffizi Gallery costs €6.50 to get in, but if there's a special exhibition on you have to pay to visit that, even if you don't actually want to see the exhibition. Ditto for the Accademia. That made it €11 each to get into the Uffizi Gallery, and €11 to get into the Accademia. As we booked online to skip the queue, that added another €8 to the total (€4 each) in booking fees, which made the total cost of the two galleries a pricey €60!

Tickets for the Uffizi Gallery can be booked here; click here to book the Accademia. Both are closed on Mondays. x

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