After a two-month closure, the Uffizi Galleries in Florence reopened to the public on May 4, with 13 new rooms devoted to 16th-century art, holding 129 masterpieces, some never displayed before, by Florentine, Emilian and Roman artists of the caliber of Andrea del Sarto, Parmigianino, Pontormo and Sebastiano del Piombo.
“In another country, this collection of 129 works would have been a museum in its own right,” said Uffizi director Eike Schmidt, who was on site on May 4 to welcome the first visitors since the closure due to anti Covid-19 rules. “Here, it’s just another chapter within the narrative of the Uffizi Galleries - but it is a fundamental chapter.”
The new rooms, on the first floor of the world-famous museum, had up until now been used for temporary exhibitions, or had been closed. Now, following the new route around the galleries, visitors access the new rooms via the ‘Plautilla Nelli Corridor,’ named after the 16th-century self-taught painter and nun, and the first-known female Renaissance painter of Florence. An Annunciation by Nelli - never before put on permanent display - sits above the doorway into the new rooms.
At the end of the year, a new room is also scheduled for opening, which will house a collection of artists’ self-portraits gathered over the centuries; begun in the 17th century by Cardinal Leopoldo, it was moved in 1973 to the Vasari Corridor, but had originally been located in the Uffizi. In anticipation of that display, a 14th new room has been set up with the statue of the Cardinal in the center, and, around it, a selection of the self-portraits, which, in the permanent display, will include works, among others, by Bernini, Cigoli, Chagall, Guttuso, 16th-century female painter Sofonisba Anguissola, as well as as contemporary artists of color.
“This reopening will surprise the public with a series of previously unseen masterpieces and others that are well known, but displayed in such a way as to rediscover their deepest meaning,” said Schmidt.
Overall, the Uffizi Galleries grow by more than 2,000 square meters.
In addition to the new displays, the museum is launching a revised entrance system aimed at reducing lines by separating the area of the ticket office from the entrance to the gallery. Thus, tickets will be distributed in the renovated spaces of the west wing, where a new cloakroom for groups, new toilets and a new shop have been set up; while the entrance to the Gallery will be opposite, on the ground floor of the east wing, in the part of the complex closest to the Arno.
The famous Vasari Corridor, closed to the public since 2016 for safety reasons, is scheduled to reopen in 2022, refurbished and regularly accessible.
The Uffizi are open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 8.15am to 6.50pm. For access on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, reservations must be made at least one day in advance, in compliance with the latest Italian government decree.