Located on the banks of the River Arno, near the Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi is a must-see attraction to add to your Florence itinerary.
Find out everything you need to plan your visit to the Uffizi Gallery in our guide, including:
- Getting around
- What to see at the Uffizi Gallery
- Uffizi Gallery history and facts
- Restaurants, bars and stores near the Uffizi Gallery
- Opening times and prices
If you’re travelling by train, the nearest station to the Uffizi is Santa Maria Novella. Here you’ll find regular train and bus services to and from many cities across Tuscany, such as Pisa, Lucca, Siena and Arezzo.
Once you arrive at Santa Maria Novella, the best way to reach the gallery is by walking, which takes just 16 minutes. The Uffizi is conveniently located near many of Florence’s most popular attractions, so you can spend the day soaking up Florence’s rich history and culture.
What to see at the Uffizi Gallery
The Uffizi Gallery boasts one of the world’s richest collections of paintings and sculptures. Here you can see works by Italian Renaissance masters, medieval European paintings and ancient sculptures from Greek and Roman times.
Here are some of the standout artworks at the Uffizi that you won’t want to miss when you visit.
Virgin and Child Enthroned by Giotto (c.1300-1305)
Also known as the Ognissanti Maestà, this painting by Giotto depicts the Virgin Mary and Christ child surrounded by saints. Virgin and Child Enthroned was made for the Church of Ognissanti in Florence and is a well-preserved example of late medieval art by one of Italy’s most celebrated painters.
Annunciation by Leonardo da Vinci (c.1472)
Leonardo da Vinci set this well-known religious scene in the gardens of a Renaissance palace, using linear perspective to bring the divine to an earthly setting. The painting is considered one of his early works, commissioned by an unknown patron.
Primavera (Spring) by Sandro Botticelli (c.1480)
Botticelli’s Primavera shows nine figures from classical mythology in a forest setting. The exact meaning of this work is unknown, but the figures represent qualities such as love, beauty, peace and prosperity. It remains a mystery who commissioned this famous painting, possibly the Medici.
The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli (c.1485)
This famous painting shows Venus, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, arriving on land in a giant scallop shell. Orange trees feature in the background – a well-known symbol of the Medici – suggesting they commissioned this piece.
Madonna of the Goldfinch by Raphael (c.1506)
Like many of Raphael’s paintings during his Florentine period, this piece depicts the Virgin Mary, a young Christ and John the Baptist in a lush, green landscape. It was commissioned for the marriage of Lorenzo Nasi in 1506.
Venus of Urbino by Titian (1538)
Venus of Urbino is one of Titian’s best-known works. A young woman reclines nude on a bed in the classical ‘Venus pudica’ pose, popular during the Renaissance. The painting was included in Vittoria della Rovere’s dowry (granddaughter of the Duke of Urbino) when she married Ferdinando II de’Medici, hence its title.
Medusa by Caravaggio (1597)
Caravaggio is known for his fascination with violence and realism, evident in this unusual twist on the Greek myth of Medusa. The artist painted his face on the monster’s decapitated head. Cardinal Francesco Maria del Monte commissioned Medusa as a commemoration shield for Ferdinand I de’Medici.
Uffizi Gallery history and facts
Before it became a gallery, the grand building housed the uffizi (offices) of the legal and administrative departments of the Florentine government, hence its name. Cosimo I de’Medici – the first Grand Duke of Tuscany – commissioned the building which Giorgio Vasari designed.
Vasari used perspective, fluidity and symmetry in his design to emphasise the length of the internal courtyard, which extends to the banks of the River Arno. The façade incorporates Doric columns, arches and niches with sculptures, creating a grand entrance to the building.
Cosimo I requested the inclusion of an elevated passage between the government offices and Palazzo Vecchio. In 1564, the Vasari Corridor was added. It crosses the river above the Ponte Vecchio, connecting the Uffizi to the Pitti Palace.
When Giorgio Vasari died in 1574, the Uffizi was unfinished. Alfonso Parigi and Bernardo Buontalenti oversaw the works until the building was completed in 1580. They also connected it to the Loggia dei Lanzi sculpture court in the Piazza della Signoria. This is where the building’s connection with art began.
The Uffizi as an art gallery
Francesco I de’Medici, who was Grand Duke of Florence between 1574 and 1587, was responsible for the building’s transformation into an art gallery and museum. He displayed ancient sculptures and busts on the second floor. The Medici’s private collection was housed in the Tribuna, an octagonal room designed by Buontalenti.
Francesco’s brother and successor, Ferdinand I, moved the Giovio collection and Medici portraits from Palazzo Vecchio to the Uffizi. At the time, it was one of the largest collections of portraits in the world.
Later, frescoes were painted on the ceilings of the western corridor, commissioned by Francesco II (Grand Duke of Tuscany, 1658 – 1679). Then more ancient sculptures were moved here from Villa Medici in Rome by Cosimo III. Further items from the family’s collection were transferred to the building until the end of the Medici dynasty in 1737.
The gallery opened to the public in 1769 by Leopold II after Zanobi del Rosso created a new entrance for the Museum Mediceum. The Uffizi formally became a museum under its current name in 1865.
The New Uffizi
The Nuovo Uffizi (New Uffizi) renovation project started in 1989, with works still ongoing. The gallery has remained open throughout the renovations, with short periods of closure when artworks are being moved. As a result, the display space has doubled, and the museum has been modernised.
Today, the Uffizi gallery is one of Italy’s most-visited museums, so don’t miss this historic building and its incredible collections when in Florence.
The Uffizi Gallery is located in Piazzale degli Uffizi, next to the River Arno. It is adjacent to the Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria, once accessible via a passageway.
The Ponte Vecchio and Pitti Palace are connected to the Uffizi gallery via the Vasari Corridor, making it an integral part of Florence’s architectural landscape.
Restaurants, bars and stores near the Uffizi Gallery
You’ll find the Uffizi Gallery in Florence’s historic centre, alongside the River Arno. This neighbourhood is home to most of the city’s main attractions, great restaurants, bars, and shops, all a stone’s throw from the gallery. You could spend a whole day in this area!
Once you’ve soaked up enough history and culture at the Uffizi, why not take a break from sightseeing for a couple of hours? Whether you want to grab a quick bite to eat or enjoy some retail therapy, these are the best restaurants, bars and stores near the Uffizi.
Best restaurants near the Uffizi Gallery
From sandwich shops to traditional trattorias and luxurious fine dining experiences, there are plenty of restaurants near the Uffizi to enjoy lunch or dinner.
Head here for lunch on the go:
- Antico Vinaio
- Mangia Pizza
Enjoy Tuscan cuisine in a laid-back setting at:
- Trattoria Antico Fattore
- Trattoria Ponte Vecchio
- Il Ricettario
- Osteria Vecchio Vicolo
- Buca dell’Orafo
- Trattoria Roberto
For an exclusive dining experience in the heart of Florence, try:
- Ora d’Aria
- Degusteria Italiana degli Uffizi
Best bars near the Uffizi Gallery
After visiting the Uffizi, relax with an aperitivo at one of these nearby bars whilst you contemplate the impressive artworks you’ve just seen:
- La Petite
- Vanilla Club
- Bar Uffizi
- Angie’s Pub
Best shops near the Uffizi Gallery
The Uffizi gallery has a shop near the ground floor exit, specialising in art history books and souvenirs.
For locally-made jewellery, art and souvenirs, try the Ponte Vecchio. The medieval bridge is home to many shops, just a 3-minute walk from the Uffizi.
Or head to Florence’s main shopping area, less than 10 minutes walk from the gallery. You can find more information on the best shopping in Florence in our dedicated guide.
Opening times and prices
As this is one of Florence’s most popular attractions, it’s best to book your Uffizi Gallery tickets in advance and avoid the queues. These can be hours long – not the best use of your time in Florence!
The Uffizi is closed on Mondays but opens from Tuesday to Sunday, 08:15 to 18:30. The last entry is at 17:30 when the ticket office closes.
Tickets cost €12, with reduced-price tickets available for EU citizens aged 18 to 25. Free entry is open to children under 18 and disabled visitors.
Entry to the National Archaeological Museum and Museum of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure is included with your Uffizi gallery ticket, so you can enjoy more culture for less!
As refurbishments to the gallery are still ongoing, check online whether any rooms are closed before you visit to avoid disappointment.
Travelling by train to Florence?
Thinking of spending some time in Florence - why not take the train? Taking the train to Florence is easy due to the high-speed rail connections operated by Trenitalia and Italo. You can travel to Florence from some of the most popular cities in Italy. Some of the most popular routes include Bologna to Florence (37m), Milan to Florence (1h 50m), Rome to Florence (1h 17m) and Venice to Florence (1h 59m).
Need more information about travelling to Florence by train? Check out our dedicated page to trains to Florence.