Florentine beauties get face-lift

Five years of restoration for the Uffizi

Editorial Staff
January 25, 2007

Give the gallery four to five years to become ‘new’ again. The ‘Nuovi Uffizi’ expansion project is already underway and will increase Florence’s most popular gallery by its current size. The city’s stunning Renaissance skyline will soon be temporarily tarnished for 55 months by two 50-metre-high cranes that will be erected on both sides of the Uffizi. The expansion project, which was presented in February 2004 by the city council, will have approximately 100 laborers on site everyday and will definitely become both an eyesore and an inconvenience for Florentines in the area. The expansion project includes several new entranceways and exits equipped with sets of stairs or elevators, a new and improved bookshop, an area showcasing archeological pieces and findings, an enlarged cloakroom, as well as significant modifications to the structure of the historic gallery itself. Much discussion and debate has surrounded the new project, which includes a new main exit that would inevitably damage part of the gallery’s façade. Despite objections, the designs have been approved and the construction companies hired to carry out the renovations have already started. Even more alarming is the fact that the project was not reviewed or approved in accordance to state regulations with the Sovraindendenza, which requires collaborative dialogue between architects, city councilors, art historians, engineers and construction companies, as well as a state competition meant to stimulate creativity and the exchange of ideas. Chief architect of the expansion project, Adolfo Natalini, has met with some bitter criticism over several of his architectural modifications. The renovations planned for the room hosting Botticelli’s masterpieces, for example, have met much resistance.


In light of the Uffizi’s expansion, Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio, recently called ‘museum of the city’, will unlock its doors to the public and allow visitors and Florentines alike to admire never-before-seen ancient Roman archeological finds and architectural motifs. Visitors will be able to admire Roman and medieval treasures in and surrounding the Palazzo Vecchio, as well as have access to a pathway connecting them to the Uffizi Gallery. The museum’s front office will be surrounded by archeological digs, which will also be found in Piazza del Grano and in the ancient church of San Piero Sacheraggio. It will be a tribute to Florence’s ancient Etruscan and Roman past, as well as a celebration of the city’s historic links with the Orient.

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