This Manneristic building encloses the long and narrow Piazzale degli Uffizi. It was built for Cosimo I to house his administrative and judicial offices. It was begun by Giorgio Vasari (1560) and finished in 1585 by Bernardo Buontalenti and Alfonso Parigi. Both Cosimo I and Giorgio Vasari died in 1574. Already in 1581 Francesco I set up the Gallery with pictures, statues and other precious things. The Uffizi building was inspired by the architecture of the Laurentian Library. The sculptures and the niches of the pillars represent famous Tuscans and they have been added from the 19th century. Two of them are Saint Antonino by Giovanni Dupré (1854) and Niccolò Macchiavelli by Lorenzo Bartolini.
Remains of the Romanesque church of San Piero Scheraggio can be seen at the ground floor. It was already partially demolished in 1410 to enlarge via della Ninna. It used to be of the community councils. Here Dante e Boccaccio made speeches to the public. The Mind building is only partial visible. The Door of the Supplications is by Bernardo Buontalenti. It is surmounted by a bust of Cosimo I attributed to Giovanni Bandini.
The houses of the Pulci, are now the seat of the Georgofili, one of the oldest institutions for the study of the economic and agrarian sciences.
The State Archives have been housed in the Uffizi Gallery until recent times. They are found in Viale Giovine Italia n. 6. They comprised documents relating to the history of Florence in Tuscany. They also include an exposition of documents and curiosities regarding Florence and Italy. Some famous documents are: the Fiorinaio (register of the Florentine Mint; the charter of union between the Greek and Latin churches (1439); the book of the Chiodo, containing the condemnation of Dante as well as many nautical maps. The entrance to the gallery is flanked by the 19th century statues of Lorenzo the Magnificent and the Cosimo the Elder.
Cosimo I de' Medici conceived the project of the gallery situated of the 3th floor, but his son Francesco I realized it. He had the ceilings of the first corridor decorated with grotesque’s in order to place the series of the famous portraits and valuable sculptures: the Gallery of the Sculptures. Buontalenti built the room of the Tribune (was finished in 1584) for the collection of antique medals and other works of art. Ferdinando I (Francesco I brother) came back from Rome and became Grand Duke of Tuscany after his brother’s death. The ex-cardinal enlarge the gallery in order to hosts the works that he brought from Rome. The Medici family grow in power throw great marriages and continuously enriched the Gallery. Cosimo III enlarged the Gallery as well as more space was needed two house the works inherited from his uncle cardinal Leopold. The last member of the family Anna Maria Ludovica (died 1737) submitted the family – pact held in Vienna in 1737. The pact arrange that all art treasures gathered by the powerful dynasty forever remain at the disposal of the Florentines and of the visitors of the entire world. This held recuperate many stolen works of art. However, some of the masterpieces remained in France.
The Lorraines, successors of the Medici, enriched the Gallery and built the beautiful room of Niobe to house the marble group called Niobe and her children struck by Apollo and Diana. The Lorrains were expose 1859 after that the Gallery became state property and it was completely reorganized according to modern criteria. The Gallery brings together Florentine and Tuscan artists with international once. The works of the Florentine artist are confronted with those of artists influence by them.
The construction was both difficult and dangerous but it made Giorgio Vasari proud because it was founded in the river and almost the air. The Uffizi has a U-shaped layout with two long wings. In the southern inside they are joined by a body facing the river. The latter has an airy loggia on the first floor and portical and the ground floor. The East Wing is linked by an overhead passageway to Palazzo Vecchio. The west Wing is connected to the Loggia dei Lanzi by a bridge suspended over Via Lambertesca. The Uffizi was constructed of the typical Florentine material, pietra serena, in contrast with the light – toned plaster.
After Cosimo I acquired the Sienese territories, the Medici family dominated all Tuscany. He could now focus on Florence, showing his prestige throw fountains, monuments and the Uffizi. Various manufactures were housed there. One of them was that of the Flamish tapestrie makers.
The Gallery was bomb in 1993 before and after this event the Uffizi were being enlarge and modified.
Vasari Corridor: it starts from the west Wing, runs across the Arno above the shops on the left side of the Old Bridge, emerges inside the church of Santa Felicita (at the time called Palatine Chapel) and end in the Boboli Gardens. It is almost a kilometer long (0.62 miles). The Corridor was reserve exclusively to the Medici family and high dignitaries of their court.
Tribune: this is an octagonal room. Its dome encrusted with oyster shells, against a background of scarlet lacquer. It was the heart of the original museum. The Tribune displayed the most amazing objects in the Medician collections. The walls lined in red velvet. Objects were on display in ebony cabinets.
This room is field with symbols (the metaphoric of the Cosmos): the wind rose symbolizes the air, the shells stand for water, the red walls are the symbol of fire while the marble and semiprecious stones represent the earth. All this elements glorify the Prince.