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“A Massive Collection of High-Quality Works, Lazily Presented with Little Flair or Information” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Uffizi Gallery

Uffizi Gallery
Piazzale degli Uffizi 6, 50122 Florence, Italy
055 238 8651
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Ranked #20 of 211 attractions in Florence
Type: Art Museums, Museums
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Attraction Details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: One of the great museums of the world, the Uffizi houses the premier collection of Italian Renaissance art, featuring works by such masters as Botticelli, Titian, Michelangelo and da Vinci.
London, UK
Top Contributor
136 reviews 136 reviews
102 attraction reviews
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“A Massive Collection of High-Quality Works, Lazily Presented with Little Flair or Information”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2012

The 'Uffizi' Gallery is my '5th place' attraction in Florence, of those I visited.

Whilst easily the most popular attraction in the city and considered to be a world-class art gallery, to put things in context it 'only' featured in 20th place in the 2011 ratings for most-visited art galleries of the world. Whilst that popularity often generates huge queues to reflect the 2011 attendance of 1.6million, one should remember that (for example) 'The Louvre' got over 5x that number, followed by a notable list below it still pulling-in several more million people than the Uffizi.

I enjoyed my visit to the gallery, promoted by some other notable factors which I'll mention later - BUT I do think it is a little overrated and I found other venues (eg the Palatina Gallery in Pitti Palace) had pieces more to my taste; I'm VERY glad I had no hassle entering, otherwise I think I'd have left after my visit quite (or should I say more ?) dissatisfied....

I am compiling an extensive Trip Advisor 'Trip List' for my recent 6 full-day visit to see the sights of Florence. Please fell free to access it via my TA Profile - I hope it is of interest and use to you and I hope all of my individual reviews/photos get posted properly as I know from past experience that the Trip Advisor submission process sometimes, incorrectly, 'blocks' them despite me being a so-called 'Senior Contributor'.....

Just before covering my personal views of the gallery, please note that as official information sources can change and the Internet links at the top of each attraction webpage on Trip Advisor can be wrong (or even absent !) I deal with visitor information/ticketing etc in the dedicated section for the attraction in my TA Trip List. This is because I have sole-control over that, can add Internet links and can edit/update it with ease to reflect changes (reviews cannot be amended after they're posted). It might also contain photos/video links if they fail to get posted with this review or on this webpage....

The gallery holds a massive and varied collection, all housed in a horseshoe-shaped building and largely situated on the first floor.

However, to appreciate that you have to successfully get in - and that can be problematic ! By careful planning I had no problems largely due to going in 'low-season' February - but do note that even when I was there some days there were, on occasion, lengthy queues whenever I passed.

When I had stopped by the Uffizi on the previous Thu/Fri there was absolutely nobody around, no electronic signs and I was able to walk in and make an enquiry inside a desolate vestibule area - I've added a photo to this review showing how desolate the entrance area can look when there are no queues !

Conversely, on my first attempt at entry on Saturday I was surprised to find both the entrance AND pre-booking entrances having lengthy queues of several hundred in strength and electronic information signs stating a 'waiting time' of 90mins. I've added photos showing them so you know what to, in all likelihood, expect !

As I've better things to do and can think of nowhere I'd be prepared to wait that long, I left and returned 1hr later nearer lunchtime. Almost by magic, I was pleased to be once again presented by an almost deserted outside but with the electronic signs still stating the same waiting time ! I had to join a queue of 5, got in within 2mins and paid half price entry (special buy-one-get-one-free weekend, which I knew about beforehand) - a good start !

By virtue of the gallery entrance/exit being at either end of the horseshoe, the flow through the presentation rooms is straightforward; however, there are occasional pitfalls as some rooms are dead-ends and signposting is very poor. There are very few signs telling you where to go next, what doorway leads where and a lot of the (almost identical) rooms were difficult to identify as the information placards were either absent or elusive - I didn't see many layout placards on the walls either....

My occasional impression of being temporarily unaware of my position in what is a very straightforward building layout was disconcerting, BUT I was not alone - the person I went in with had similar feelings and I often saw people who were also clearly lost. So, my recommendation is that when going to this gallery, at the very least, TAKE A ROOM LAYOUT MAP !

You might also want to take, like I did, a guidebook of some kind as I also found the information signs for the multitude of masterpieces on display to be a little short on detail; most of us will need something to help us know the significance/background to what we're looking at....

Most rooms are devoid of decoration, so expect to go around a very 'pure' art gallery with little or no adornments or 'extras' to enhance your experience. There are cushioned seats where you can gaze at particular works, but if you're going at a busy time plan to be on your feet for the duration !

There is too much in the gallery to detail specifics, but suffice to say that my earlier comment about a 'multitude of masterpieces' is justified - it was just that for me not too much of it really grabbed me. I very much liked the works by Panini, Canaletto, Titian and Raphael - the latter two being the reason for me then going to Palatina Gallery as it has MUCH more by them....

However, I was extremely disappointed to find several notable works absent due to restorative work, including the whole of the 'La Tribuna' being closed - pictures of which really interested me.

A good point to finish on, the bookshops on the ground floor of the gallery are very well-stocked with a lot of interesting, occasionally unusual, printed material.

So, the things that stood out at the 'Uffizi' Gallery were the enormous collection of notable works presented in a rather plain fashion, spoilt to a degree by little or no assistance to visitors about how to get around the building and with limited information available on the works.

The popularity of the gallery explains the potential hiatus you can have before even getting in, but one would have thought that with so many paying customers a little more effort could be made to make the visit experience more fulfilling and really exploit the quality of the huge number of works on show.

In short, a bit of a disappointment - especially in comparison to similarly 'world-class venues; the authorities of 'The Uffizi' should be doing better for us, their customers, and exploiting the potential of their treasures to a better extent. If I had paid for a reservation AND full-price entry I would left feeling short-changed....

Visited February 2012
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london
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14 reviews 14 reviews
6 attraction reviews
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“Venus and other Boticelli paintings amazing in person”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2012

Boticelli paintings and view of duomo from cafe is great.

Visited March 2012
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East Anglia
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Excellent collection but a little bit confusing lay out”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2012

The building and the collection of paintings - as described in any guide book. We knew what we were going to see and we saw 90% of it thanks to no time wasted in a queue (tip N 1 – pre-book tickets on the internet to avoid the queue!), comfortable shoes and a plan of the gallery in a guide book. We found plans around the gallery somewhat confusing, not really showing clearly where we were and where everything else was. The rooms are numbered not by the entries but by the exits. One of the rooms was closed for restoration and without asking we wouldn’t have found the new location of the paintings from that room – they’d moved them to a different floor!
Tip N2 – if you have anything to hand in for storage while you are in the gallery, bring a large back pack, stuff everything in it and hand it in. They don’t take any other bags or coats – only rucksacks/back packs. We had to carry our coats and carrier bags around the gallery for 5 hours and wished we had brought a rucksack.
Tip N3 – if you have a young child, buy a special guide book for them from their shop. They are excellent for any child that can read, available in different languages, will make a good souvenir to take home and will keep children interested while in the gallery. I spotted them on the way OUT in their gift shop but obviously it would be a lot more useful to buy one on the way IN. A lot of museums in England provide children with quizzes which are informative and fun but I didn’t see anything like that in Uffizi.
Tip N4 – don’t miss a coffee break on their open air terrace. It is cheaper and quicker to buy ‘take away’ coffee and snack rather than being served at the table, and there are benches on the terrace to sit down and enjoy your drink if the weather is nice.

Visited April 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town Central, South Africa
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“A Must See!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2012

This is the most important and famous Gallery in Florence and perhaps even in the World (along with the Louvre). Full of rennaisance art and sculptures by so many many famous people. Allow 3 to 4 hours for the museaum and ARRIVE REALLY EARLY otherwise you will wait outside for around 4 or 5 hours in the que!

Visited April 2012
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Houston, Texas
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“Great, but guide really helps”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2012

We had gone before, but went on a Context tour and it was great! Learned a lot and enjoyed the visit a lot.

Visited April 2012
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