Florence's Uffizi Gallery, always a central reference point for visitors to the city, has come into the public spotlight more than usual this week, as Madonna paid nearly 19.000 euros for a private museum tour and nine new rooms opened to the public.
Accompanied by her son Rocco, her boyfriend Brahim Zaibat, around 30 bodyguards, and a host of museum personnel, Madonna took a two-hour guided tour of the Uffizi Gallery after it closed to the public on Sunday evening.
According to Cristina Acidini, the head of the organisation that governs Florence's major museums, Madonna took a special interest in the works of Botticelli, Florentine art from the period of Lorenzo the Magnificent and the intersection of myths with religion and philosophy.
Madonna's Uffizi visit followed her packed Saturday night concert, part of her MDNA tour. On Monday and Tuesday, she filmed the music video for "Turn up the Radio", a single from her latest album, in the pedestrian area of Florence's historic centre and along the Arno River.
On Tuesday, a series of nine rooms dedicated to Rafael and Italian painting from the 1500s opened on the first floor of the Vasari building, behind the Loggia dei Lanzi sculpture arcade on the Piazza della Signoria.
Colloquially called the red rooms, due to their "Medici" crimson red paint, the connected rooms hold 51 paintings, 12 sculptures, and 3 drawings from Renaissance artists including Bronzino, Rosso Fiorentino, Pontormo, Rafael, and Andrea del Sarto.
The Sale degli Stranieri (Rooms of the Foreigners), which opened on the December 17, have likewise been nicknamed the blue rooms, after their vibrant sky blue walls. An additional two rooms, with wall murals by Luigi Ademollo, will open soon.