A brief history
The Uffizi Gallery, as it is now known, was initially planned to house the offices ('Uffizi' is Italian for offices) of Florentine magistrates. Commissioned in 1560 by Cosimo de Medici, the Duke of Florence, it was finished in 1581 with a top floor that housed a private gallery. Over time, more and more of the offices were converted into gallery spaces. In 1765, the gallery was finally opened to the public, and exactly a century later, it officially became a full-time museum.
What exactly is on display?
The Uffizi, the most visited gallery in all of Italy, is home to some of the greatest names in Italian art, especially those at the height of their power during the Italian Renaissance period (from the 13th century to the 16th century). Italian masters such as Titian, Raphael, Michelangelo, Caravaggio and Leonardo da Vinci all have works on display, as do such celebrated European painters such as Dürer, Goya and Rembrandt.
Bombs and floods
The Uffizi has had its share of troubles throughout the years. In 1966, the banks of the Arno broke and the whole city flooded. This disaster not only led to businesses being lost and families being forced from their homes, but also to devastating damage to many irreplaceable antique books and works of art. Damage of a different kind was inflicted on the gallery in 1993 when the Mafia exploded a car bomb in front of the gallery. Not only did this destroy many priceless works of art, but it also killed five people.