Tuesday, May 5, 2009

One Minute Guide To The Uffizi Gallery Florence Italy

Chris Leadbeater from Travelmail has provided this overview of the Uffizi in Florence Italy.
See it in style and with a small group with our Masterpieces of the Uffizi Gallery Tour

"The One Minute Guide To...

The Uffizi Gallery, Florence By Chris Leadbeater, TravelMail

The Uffizi is home to some of the finest treasures of art anywhere in the world
The gallery is as beautiful on the outside as it is from within
What: One of the world's finest art galleries – if not the finest. After all, the Galleria degli Uffizi, to use its full Italian name, has been open to the public as a cultural treasure trove since 1765 – a time when the Louvre was still slumming it as a plain old royal palace. The Uffizi was also one of the key stops on the 'Grand Tour' of Europe – the cross-continental travel route followed by the wealthy and the itchy-of-feet in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. They didn't have budget flights in those days, you see.
Where: Right in the heart of Florence, just up from the River Arno, on the Piazzale degli Uffizi. To be precise, it sits within a Renaissance pile built between 1560 and 1581. The sort of building that looks just as glorious as the art it holds, in other words.
Why go? Well, at this time of year, there is one very good reason to visit. The Uffizi is home to Sandro Botticelli's The Birth Of Venus – the masterpiece, painted some time between 1482 and 1486, that shows the famously lovely deity perched on a shell as she emerges from the sea, nothing but well-positioned strands of her long golden hair preserving her immortal decency. Venus was, of course, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. Valentine's Day is this week. Do you see where we're going here?
Random fact: The world can consider itself fortunate that The Birth Of Venus still exists. It could easily have perished in 1497 during the infamous Bonfire Of The Vanities – the destruction of thousands of priceless works of art and literature on large pyres in the Piazza della Signoria. The purge was ordered by Hieronymus Savonarola, a Dominican priest and the city's then-leader, as a way of ridding Florence of items he deemed impure and sinful. The Birth Of Venus, with its glorification of a pagan icon and – let's face it – blatant nudity, might well have fallen victim to the flames (other works by Botticelli, as well as pieces by Michelangelo certainly did), but somehow survived, possibly because Botticelli had friends in high places with immaculate taste.
Best bit: Unless you're an art historian who wants to argue the matter, Botticelli's chief achievement is the best bit about a visit to the Uffizi. But the gallery's list of showstoppers does not end there. Its walls play host to glories created by Da Vinci, Titian, Caravaggio, Raphael and Michelangelo, as well as other Botticelli numbers..."

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