Italy’s most famous museum, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, is planning on launching a new program, called ‘Uffizi Diffusi’ (or ‘scattered’ Uffizi), in which artworks from the museum’s famed collection would be exhibited throughout Tuscany.
Interviewed by CNN Travel, Uffizi’s director Eike Schmidt explained that the idea has been brewing since last year, as a consequence of the museum’s repeated closures due to Covid-19 restrictions, and that the time has been used to work on new potential exhibition spaces and pairings. The goal, according to Schmidt, is to create “a different type of tourism,” with a better redistribution of tourists, who, pre-pandemic, visited the Uffizi at a rate of approximately 12,000 a day. The long-term objective is also to make art and culture part of people's daily lives, enjoyable for all, not just for an overseas audience, as well as to help the local economies.
"We already have more than 3,000 works of art on display in the Uffizi: it seems enough to me," said Schmidt to CNN. The ‘Uffizi Diffusi’ project would provide an opportunity to display some of the thousands of artworks stored in the museum's deposit, thus “bringing to light works of art that currently nobody can see, in a calmer, more intimate setting.”
“Art can’t survive on big galleries alone,” Schmidt also told CNN Travel. “We need multiple exhibition spaces all over the region - especially in the places where the art itself was born.” In fact, artworks would be sent to museums located in artists' hometowns so as to provide context both to the work and the artist. This is something Schmidt already experimented with, for Leonardo da Vinci’s 500th death anniversary, when he sent a landscape drawing to Vinci, the artist’s hometown, and the 15th-century Battle of Anghiari to Anghiari, which, incidentally, quadrupled the number of visitors to the local museum.
The ‘Uffizi Diffusi’ project plans to launch by summer and to include, according to CNN, “at least 60, maybe even 100 exhibition spaces” across Tuscany, including, possibly, “a villa that once belonged to the Medici family in Montelupo Fiorentino, half an hour west of Florence; port city Livorno; belle époque spa town Montecatini Terme; and Careggi, where another Medici villa sits just east of Florence.”