Florence’s Uffizi Gallery is home to some of the world’s most treasured masterpieces, including Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. We wouldn’t be a tour company if we didn’t recommend taking an Uffizi Gallery guided tour. However, if you‘re going to see it on your own, make sure you admire these must-see masterpieces at the Uffizi Gallery
Pro Tip: Planning your visit to the Uffizi in Florence? Bookmark this post in your browser so you can easily find it when you need it. Check out our guide to Florence for more planning resources, our best Uffizi tours for a memorable trip, and how to see Florence in a day (with itinerary).
Must-See Masterpieces at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence
The small city of Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance and no trip would be complete without visiting the Uffizi Gallery. There, you’ll find masterpieces by the likes of Botticelli, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, and other world-renowned artists.
With so much history, we highly recommend taking an Uffizi Gallery guided tour. It makes for a rich and enlightening experience of this incredible artwork. That said, you can certainly do it on your own! Just be sure to stand in front of these must-see masterpieces at the Uffizi Gallery and let your jaw drop!
Not ready to book a tour? See if an Uffizi Gallery tour is worth it.
7. Madonna del Cardellino by Raphael
Raphael (Raffaello in Italian) painted The Madonna del Cardellino, also known as Madonna of the Goldfinch, in 1506 as a wedding gift for his friend Lorenzo Nasi.
In the painting, the Madonna is young and beautiful. She wears red and blue clothes. 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 reaches out to touch it.
The painting suffered damage during an earthquake in 1548. After various restoration projects, with the most recent one completed in 2008, you can now enjoy the history of this artwork.
Location in Uffizi: Hall 66.
6. Annunciation by Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo Da Vinci and Andrea del Verrocchio painted the Annunciation between 1472 and 1475. It depicts the moment Angel Gabriel announces to the Virgin Mary that she will conceive and give birth to a son who will be named Jesus, “Son of God.”
This was a very popular subject for paintings at the time. Look out for the lilies that the angel holds. They’re an interesting detail that symbolizes Mary’s virginity.
Location in Uffizi: Hall 15.
5. Venus of Urbino by Titian
Titian completed the Venus of Urbino in 1538. Commissioned by the Duke of Urbino, Guidobaldo II Della Rovere, the painting was a gift 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. The girl looking through the chest in the background represents motherhood.
Location in Uffizi: Hall 83.
Not ready to book a tour? Check out our best Florence tours to take and why.
4. Medusa by Caravaggio
Cardinal Francesco Maria Bourbon del Monte commissioned Caravaggio to paint Medusa in 1597 who then gifted it to the Grand Duke Ferdinando I de’ Medici.
In Greek mythology, Medusa was a Gorgon who had venomous snakes for hair and the power to turn anyone who gazed upon her to stone. the goddess Athena gave Perseus a shield to avoid looking at Medusa as he decapitated her. Caravaggio’s painting captures the moment of Medusa’s decapitation when she realizes that her head and body are no longer one.
Location in Uffizi: Hall 90
3. The Holy Family with Young St. John the Baptist by Michaelangelo
To call Michelangelo a gifted artist would be an understatement. He was born with talented and dedicated his life to being the best. However, he felt that painting was the “lesser” of the arts. He felt sculptors could not hide or reverse any mistake they made in marble. Painters, on the other hand, had many tricks they could apply.
However, he still has a few paintings. Doni Tondo or The Holy Family is one of a handful of free-standing (panel) paintings Michaelangelo worked on. Apparently, it was the only panel he completed. The merchant Agnolo Doni commissioned it to commemorate the birth of his child.
It’s a beautiful work of art from a sort of golden era for Renaissance art in Florence. It was a time when Da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo all lived in the city, treated like celebrities. It’s a definite must-see for your visit.
Location in Uffizi: Hall 35
2. La Primavera by Sandro Botticelli
La Primavera or “Spring” in English is considered to be one of the greatest paintings ever produced. That statement goes far beyond its beauty and artistic expression.
Along with the Birth of Venus, La Primavera openly depicts pagan figures and symbolism. Art outsiders may ask, “Are pagan symbols not used all the time in works?” Yes, they are. Just not for over a thousand years (A.D. 380/392 to the mid-15th century) on the public stage in a Catholic city. People were burnt at the stake for less.
La Primavera defied the oppression of artistic expression, which arguably may have inspired a massive leap forward in art history. Some of the greatest artists that would ever live followed the career of Boticelli.
The Birth of Venus is undoubtedly more famous than La Primavera. However, the latter is considered a more complex and intricate work of art. The field of La Primavera contains between 150 to 200 different species of flower all individually painted. Boticelli went to painstaking lengths to add incredible detail to this masterpiece.
Don’t miss either of these paintings while visiting the Uffizi. Plan on spending 10 minutes or so admiring each one. Put the camera down and really appreciate them. These paintings are the very reason I started The Roman Guy and, eventually, The Tour Guy tour companies.
Location in Uffizi: Hall of Botticelli (10-14)
1. Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli
Painted by Sandro Botticelli between 1482 and 1485 for the Medici family, the Birth of Venus has become one of the world’s most famous Renaissance masterpieces.
In the painting you can observe Venus, the goddess of love, standing 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. Take a moment to soak up the beauty of this magnificent masterpiece.
Location in Uffizi: Botticelli Rooms (10-14)
Not ready to book a tour? Read more about how to visit the Uffizi Gallery.
Uffizi Gallery Opening Hours
- The Uffizi is closed on Mondays.
- Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 8:15 am – 6:50 pm.
- The ticket office closes at 6:05 pm, and the museum starts closing down at 6:35 pm.
- The museum is also closed on January 1st, May 1st, and December 25th.