Florence is home to some of the world’s most treasured masterpieces, including Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. So it’s no surprise that the Uffizi Gallery has over 2 million visitors a year! It would be easy to spend an entire day strolling around the gallery admiring each art piece in detail but we know that not everyone has the time or energy to do that! So we’ve decided to put together a list of 5 must-see artwork pieces at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, that you just can’t miss!
1. Birth of Venus – Sandro Botticelli
The Birth of Venus has become one of the world’s most famous Renaissance masterpieces. It was painted by Sandro Botticelli between 1482 and 1485 for the Medici family.
In the painting you can observe Venus, the goddess of love, standing demurely on a seashell in the center. To the right of her, Zephyr, the god of the west wind is blowing her to the shore. There, Pomona, the goddess of spring, is waiting with a cape to clothe the newborn deity.
You can see the Birth of Venus in Hall #41.
2. Madonna del Cardellino – Raffaello
The Madonna del Cardellino or also known as Madonna of the Goldfinch was painted by Raffaello in 1506 as a wedding gift for his friend Lorenzo Nasi.
Looking at the painting, the Madonna is shown young and beautiful. She is clothed in red and blue, the red signifies the passion of Christ and the blue signifies the church. Christ and John are still young babies. John holds a goldfinch in his hand, and Christ is reaching out to touch it.
The painting suffered damaged during an earthquake in 1548. After various restorations projects, with the recent one finishing in 2008, you can now enjoy the history of this artwork at the Uffizi Gallery in Hall #66.
3. Annunciation – Leonardo Da Vinci
The Annunciation was painted by Leonardo Da Vinci and Andrea del Verrochio around 1472-1475. The painting depicts the moment Angel Gabriel announces to the Virgin Mary that she will conceive and give birth to a son to be named Jesus, “Son of God”. This was a very popular subject for paintings at the time. An interesting details to look out for are the Madonna Lilly’s that the angel is holding, these symbolize Mary’s virginity.
You can visit some Leonardo’s famous masterpiece in the Hall #15.
4. Venus of Urbino – Titian
The Venus of Urbino was completed by Titian in 1538, comissioned by the Duke of Urbino, Guidobaldo II Della Rovere. The painting was a gift from the Duke to his young wife. It represented the allegory of marriage; eroticism, fidelity and motherhood. The eroticism is evident in the representation of Venus, the goddess of love. The dog at her feet represents marital fidelity, while the girl looking through the chest in the background represents motherhood.
You can see the Venus of Urbino by Titian in the Hall #83.
5. Medusa – Caravaggio
Medusa was commissioned to Caravaggio by Cardinal Francesco Maria Bourbon del Monte in 1597 who then gave it to the Grand Duke Ferdinando I de’ Medici as a gift.
In Greek mythology, Medusa was a Gorgon that had venomous snakes as hair and had the power to turn anyone who gazed at her to stone. Perseus, was given a shield by the goddess Athena to avoid looking at her as he decapitated her.
Caravaggio’s painting portrays the moment that Medusa is decapitated, as she realizes that her head and body are no longer one.
You can have a look at the Medusa shield in the Hall #90 dedicated to Caravaggio.
Uffizi Gallery Opening Hours
- The Uffizi is CLOSED on Mondays.
- Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 8:15 am – 6:50 pm.
- Ticket office closes at 6:05 pm, and museum starts closing down at 6:35 pm.
- The museum is closed: every Monday, January 1, May 1, December 25.
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