Florence is a paradise for foodies, historians and architecture enthusiasts alike. But, above all, it’s arguably the world’s best playground for artists. From imposing statues to poignant paintings, this momentous metropolis has something spectacular in store for art lovers of every nationality, sex or age. |
While there are countless spots that showcase Florence’s myriad masterpieces, you can’t truly say that you’ve experienced the city’s art scene unless you go to the Uffizi Gallery. Here you’ll discover works of genius from a variety of mediums, whose magnetic-like appeal attracts 1.5 million curious tourists each year. Considering this steep statistic, it’s not surprising that our own guided outing to the gallery is one of the most sought-after tours of Tuscany.
The Uffizi Gallery is comprised of over 45 halls, each of which exhibits an assortment of stunning successes. While the collection’s enormous size is ideal if you have weeks, months or even years to make your way through the museum, it can be quite overwhelming if – like most – you’re only in Florence for a few days. To help you navigate your way through the collection, I’ve put together a list of masterpieces that you definitely won’t want to miss.
Coronation of the Virgin by Fra Angelico
If you’re a fan of Renaissance art, you’ve surely heard of this splendid altarpiece, created by the legendary Fra Angelico (1395 – 1455). The painter, who was frequently praised for his seemingly inexhaustible imagination and aptitude, created this work for Santa Maria Novella, a famous church in Florence. To this day, the result of the church’s costly commission is beyond exceptional: Fra Angelico’s bold use of gold, blue and red enhances the image of the Virgin, as well as the watching saints, in such vivid detail that the figures seemingly pop off of the canvas. Whether you’re an expert on the Italian Renaissance, or are looking for a proper introduction to this prolific period of art, marvelling at this one-of-a-kind altarpiece is an absolute must.
Medusa by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
If you appreciate Greek mythology, you can’t go to Florence without seeing Medusa, one of the Uffizi Gallery’s most well-known – and most distinctive – paintings. This masterpiece, which was completed in 1596, depicts the feared Medusa, whose hair consists of snakes and whose stare was said to turn people to stone. Most guides leading art-focused tours of Tuscany will really make this work come alive with their vivid stories... so vivid, in fact, you may actually start to fear for your mortality when you behold this chilling painting!
Annunciation by Andrea del Verrocchio and Leonardo da Vinci
While the Annunciation, which derives from the New Testament Book of Luke, is an omnipresent topic in Italian Renaissance painting, no one depicts it better than the celebrated Leonardo da Vinci and his teacher, Andrea del Verrocchio. Experts believe that this collaborative piece could have originated as early as 1472. While it is definitely not fully representative of da Vinci’s later successes, the painter’s signature style is already visible in the Annunciation; in fact, many claim that the Angel Gabriel’s facial features are noticeably similar to those of the Mona Lisa and the La Belle Ferronnière. If you’d like to trace the early development of this artistic prodigy, then, the Uffizi Gallery is the perfect place to go.
As you can imagine, the above recommendations are only a few of my favourites – the Uffizi Galley is filled to the brim with artistic gems that will simply take your breath away. While it’s possible to stroll through the museum by yourself, you’re sure to get the most out of the experience if you opt for a guided visit. So why not consider our very own visit, which will introduce you to the collection’s cream of the crop and will allow you to skip the long queues? Check out our tours of Tuscany page for more information.
Rose Magers is an Australian-born Italophile and the founder of ArtViva. With an international reputation for excellence and creativity, ArtViva are at the forefront of escorted day tours in Italy. Rose has indulged her own passion for history and the arts by designing an innovative range of exceptional small group tours of Tuscany, from hiking and biking through the Tuscan countryside to unforgettable villa visits.
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