Impressions of Italy: The Uffizi and The Academy Museums

A quick review and photographs from my visits to the Uffizi and the Academy in Florence Italy. Both are world renown art museums featuring both paintings and sculptures.

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As noted in my blog post of Florence (see here), the Uffizi is the primary art museum in Florence, followed by the Academy which is not that far way.  The Uffizi is the 25th most visited art museum, and one of the most important in Italy. The works of a lot of Italian renaissance masters can be found here. And even paintings by Michelangelo (which are different from the Sistine Chapel in Rome). And sculptures by Michelangelo at the Academy. Guess that is the origin of the phrase “renaissance man!” 

The Uffizi

The Uffizi has two large wings, with sculpture in the hallways and rooms where you can view various paintings. In this museum you will find sculptures from the ancient Greco-Roman period as well as up through the renaissance.   You have main hallways which hug along the external wall looking down into the Piazza below with galleries off the main hallways. Everywhere you looked there were works of art that just were amazing.  I happen to love both sculpture and paintings, so like the Vatican Museum, I was in my element! 

A first century statue of Italian marble. The statue shows the goddess crouching as she prepares to bathe. In the collection of the Uffizi Museum, Florence, Italy.

Some of my favorite artists have works here, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Titian, Raphael, Caravaggio, van der Weyden, Rubens, El Greco, Goya, and Rembrandt.  And then there are the Roman and Greek sculptures that adorn the second floor halls. Below are three photographs of world famous paintings, the first by Michelangelo, the second by Botticelli, and the third by Raphael.

“THe Holy Family” By Michelangelo Buonarroti

“The Birth of Venus” By Sandro Botticelli

“The Madonna of the Goldfinch.” A tempora on panel painted between 1505 and 1506 by Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, otherwise known as Raphael.

If you are visiting during the height of the tourist season, your wait for tickets can be as long as five hours.  I purchased my tickets weeks in advance to ensure minimal wait times. Even then it was 45 minutes in line for all of us who purchased advanced tickets.  The website for the Uffizi ( is where you purchase your advanced tickets. 

As for photography, you are best served by using your 24-70mm lens.  And having a camera which can shoot good photographs in low light (great ISO capability) is also a must as tripods are not allowed, nor are monopods. And you can’t make use of walls or door frames as there is just too many people (and the guards frown and shoo you away), so good camera holding techniques are critical to get the shots you are looking for. 

The Academy

It is here that you will find perhaps Michelangelo’s most famous work, David. The last time I was in Florence, over 30 years ago, I didn’t make it to the Academy. My bad! But I made up for that oversight with this visit!

Unlike the Uffizi, the academy is mostly sculptures, from the greco-roman period up through to the renaissance. And it is much smaller in size, so it doesn’t take as long to walk through and admire the artwork.  There were a few gallery’s with triptychs from various churches and some paintings. But again the stars here are sculptures.

A photograph of Michelangelo’s famous ‘David.’

One thing that surprised me about Michelangelo’s David was it’s size.  It is huge! It is 17 feet (5.1 meters) high, not counting the base! I got this shot and believe it or not it is surrounded by throngs of people.  The base must be at least 5 feet in height, so I was able take this shot without people in the picture.

The Academy isn’t far from the Uffizi, about a 15 minute walk.

Again, as a photographer, you will be rewarded with using your 24-70mm lens, on a camera that provides great shots at a higher ISO (the light is not great, it is indoors afterall). And you must have great hand holding techniques as the use of tripods or monopods are not allowed.  And there are really no doorways or walls you can lean against to take your shots. And the guards here had less patience and are quite willing to move you along if you stop for too long. There are a lot of visitors, and as it is a much smaller space than the Uffizi, it is pretty crowded, so the guards have “crowd control” licked!

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David Cote is a landscape and travel photographer who makes stunning photographs of beautiful locations around our wonderful world. When not selling photography at art shows or online, he can be found sharing his love and knowledge of photography with others who love photography.

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