This was my second trip to Florence and so I will not repeat what has already been said. The highlight and main purpose of this trip was the Uffizi museum. Within the walls of the Uffizi, you can view many of the masterpieces of Italian art in one of the world’s greatest public museums.
The museum includes a fantastic collection of Italian painting, along with a large collection of classical Roman Sculpture. There are important collections of drawings and northern European painting, among others. The
main problem with this museum is that the authorities do not allow photography of any kind and therefore I have no personal photographs to show. Inside you are greeted by marble floors and halls flooded with light from the facing windows. The sculpture collection is housed along the main corridors that run the length of the building. The main collection includes works by Giotto, Massaccio, Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, da Vinci, Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, Michalangelo, Raphael, and just about every great Italian artist through the 18th century. The core of the collection is from the Medici court. I am told that the collection has remained intact with few changes over the centuries. Viewing it as you move from room to room is like watching the history of Italian art unfold before your eyes. The Uffizi collection is a concentrated educational experience. When I studied art history in college much of what I saw in books and on slides was from this wonderful museum and now to see these things for real is a tremendous experience. For the lover of art history, the Uffizi is an essential destination. It is worth coming to Florence just for this purpose.
The big problem with going to any of these places whether they be the Louvre, D’ Orsay, Uffizi or the Vatican Museum is that it is simply not possible to know enough about what one is looking at. This time at the Uffizi, as I did in the Musee d’ Orsay and in Versailles, I paid a little extra and bought the audio self-tour, which I recommend, but even with the audio tour, I am still left with the feeling, “I do not know what I am seeing, I just know it is good.” However, I suppose if I only get to this point of art appreciation in this life it is a worthy accomplishment. Going to these famous museums is actually an adventure in aesthetics.
So much of my life is consumed by the mediocre, the routines of life, and so an opportunity to spend just a few moments in the presence of such world class art brings light into my heart. To have beauty in ones life makes the difference between mere animal life and human life.
I actually think coming to Florence during September/October was a better time to come. In summer the heat is unbearable and even the river that runs through Florence is down to a paltry trickle. Last year in October it had a healthy and clean flow. In fact, I think summer is not a good time to come to Europe unless, of course, the beach is on your agenda. Summer is just not a good time to see the sights, but if this is the only time you have, it is still worth coming.