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In the Red Rooms at the Uffizi, or at the Ammannati courtyard at the Pitti Palace, at the Silver Museum, at the Bargello, Accademia Gallery or Medici Chapels or even in the Vasari Corridor… how about hosting a dinner party in one of these settings? Or a cocktail party, concert or play? How about a fashion show or hosting a conference?

It is possible, and has been possible for the last 20 years, that local boards responsible for mainlining Italy’s most prized national treasures and monuments have been able to “rent out” historical and monumental spots to private parties, as long as the concession guaranteed the conservation of the monument and the use was “compatible” with its historical and artistic nature.

So what’s new? In Florence, the Polo Museale that governs State museums such as the Uffizi, Accademia and Boboli gardens is debating setting up an actual price list. Here’s some of the points in the list:

– visit the Uffizi and get it all to yourself on its day of closure to the public: €8000
– cocktail party: at the Uffizi, €5000; at the Boboli gardens in the Piazzale della Meridiana €7000, and €10000 for the Ammannati Courtyard at the Pitti Palace
– fashion show at the Costume Gallery at Pitti €20,000 or at the Uffizi for €150,000

Funds could go to cover museum activities, restorations and even general expenses in this day and age when funds are scarce.

The news come a few weeks after the City of Florence rented out Ponte Vecchio to the Ferrari who hosted a special dinner for Ferrari owners… while the bridge was closed off to everyone else.

For now, these are just proposals and nothing is set yet… what do you think? Should national monuments be available for rent? Should the state or city, tutors of these public treasures, offer them to those who can pay while denying access to others?

caravaggio-medusa2

Visitors to the Uffizi today we’re surprised to see Caravaggio’s Medusa along with the rest of the paintings housed in Hall 81 in a different hall than expected.

Yesterday, in fact, staff at the Uffizi were hard at work moving the works of art during the one day of the week the museum is closed to the public. In the video below, you can witness the move of Caravaggio’s Medusa.

Artemisia Gentileschi’s “Judith and Holofernes” and other works by the Caraveggesque painters also made the move to the new rooms found immediately after the temporary exhibit dedicated to Grand Prince Ferdinando de’ Medici in the short end of the Uffizi running parallel to the Arno river. So even if you’re tired by the time you reach this part of the museum, take a moment to stop and admire these fine masterpieces of art!

Niccolò Cassana - Portrait of the Grand Duke Ferdinando de' Medici

On Tuesday, June 25, the new exhibition dedicated to the Grand Prince Ferdinando de’ Medici will open at the Uffizi as well as 6 new rooms dedicated to “Modern Mannerism”.

The new spaces include 17 for exhibitions and 6 as part of the main collection of the Uffizi. The new rooms are found after the “red rooms” open last year dedicated to 15th century Renaissance works. The new rooms are dedicated to:
– room 68 – artists working in Rome during the first half of the 15th century
– room 71 – Correggio
– room 74 – Parmigianino
– room 75 – Giorgione and Sebastiano del Piombo
– room 83 – Tiziano
– room 88 – painters from Lombardy, in particular Moroni, Lotto and Savoldo

The new spaces also include new corridors and bathrooms.

newrooms-uffizi-2013

Veneziano - St- Lucia di Magnoli Altarpiece

June 24 is the feast day for Florence’s patron saint, St. John the Baptist, and this year it falls on a Monday, day the the Uffizi is generally closed. But thanks to a special project financed by the Ministry of Italy’s Cultural Patrimony, the Uffizi will have a special opening on June 24, open all day from 8:15 to 6:50pm.

Thanks to this project, several other Italian state museums in Florence will also be open on June 24. These are:
– the Medici Chapels
– the Last Supper by Ghirlandaio at Ognissanti
– the Palazzo Davanzati
– the Church and Museum of Orsanmichele
– the Medici Villas at: Poggio a Caiano, La Petraia, the garden of the Medici villa of Castello, and the villa at Cerreto Guidi.

Thanks to the work of volunteers from the Friends of Florentine Museums, the church and museum of Orsanmichele for the special occasion will remain open longer until 9pm.

bambini-stranieri

A few days ago, the new minister for Italy’s Cultural Patrimony and Activities Massimo Bray (Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali) extended the right of free entry to Italian state museums and historical sites to all non-EU minors under 18 years old.

This is wonderful news: up to now, all EU minors under 18 could enter free into state museums but families from outside of the EU visiting Italy had to pay full price entrance tickets for their children. This meant a pretty hefty overall family price to visit monuments and museums in Italy, Italy’s main attraction for visitors worldwide.

This includes the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, as well as the Accademia, the Pitti Palace, the Bargello, the Medici Chapels…. if you’re wondering about any others across Italy, you can search on the MiBAC site for a complete list.

The decree has yet to enter effect but in the meantime the Minister has asked all museums to start applying the new rules and allowing non-EU children to enter free. Here is the official press release saying so: print it out and carry it along with you to show at museum entrances in case the present staff have not yet seen it!

UPDATE: Please note that while all children under 18 qualify for free entry, if you buy advance tickets you still pay for the online commissions and booking fees for those tickets.

uffizi-terrace

After great success last year, the “Aperitivi ad Arte” or “cocktails with art” initiative returns to the Uffizi this summer.

Starting next Thursday, June 6 and every Thursday until September 25, you will be able to visit the Uffizi after normal closing hours from 7 to 10 pm.

Enjoy cocktails in the terrace overlooking Piazza della Signoria and access to the Red Rooms, the rooms dedicated to Italian 16th century artists such as Raphael, Bronzino, Rosso Fiorentino, Allori, Vasari, Andrea del Sarto and Pontormo.

Starting next Wednesday, June 5, the Aperitivo ad Arte also can be enjoyed at the Accademia Gallery while viweing Michelangelo’s David or from August 6 at the National Museum of the Bargello also viewing works by Michelangelo, Donatello and others.

Space is limited so reservations are a must by calling 055-294883, cost is € 15 for the evening.

Uffizi: sala pittori romani

The New Uffizi project continues its movement forward with the completion of the set-up of two more new rooms which are now open to the public.

The new rooms are Room 68 dedicated to art in Rome during the first half of the 1500s and Room 71 that has works of art by Correggio.

Both are located on the first floor of the Western wing, after the Raffaello room (opened in June 2012).

The two rooms are part of a series of other rooms that should be completed and open to the public in about a month’s time.

Night at the Museum 2013

As part of the Night at the Museum initiative taking place across Europe this Saturday, May 18, the Uffizi Gallery will be open from 7pm to 1am with free entrance! Last entrance is at 12:30am.

Other museums in Florence also open for Night at the Museum (same hours as above):
Accademia Gallery
Palatine Gallery (Pitti Palace)
– Museum of San Marco

Palazzo Vecchio will also be open from 6pm to midnight with free entrance.

Madonna con Bambino

Visitors to the Uffizi Gallery on Saturdays can now take advantage of visiting the current exhibition “Norma e Capriccio” with a guide, for free!

Until May 25th, every Saturday at 10.00, 11.30, 14.30 and 16.00 everyone with a ticket to the Uffizi Gallery can participate in the free educational tour of the exhibition organised by the museum staff and which lasts an hour.

Groups are a maximum number of 15, meeting point at the entrance to the exhibition space on the first floor (Sculpture Loggia).

Site of car bomb in 1993

On the 20th anniversary of the bomb disaster of Via dei Georgofili, the Superintendent of the Polo Museale Fiorentino , Cristina Acidini and the Director of the Uffizi, Antonio Natali, have decided to have a special opening of the Uffizi Gallery free of charge.

On Sunday May 26, 2013 the museum will remain open until 1:30am (last entrance at 1am May 27) in order to commemorate the precise time, 1:04am of the explosion of the car bomb that was parked by Torre dei Pulci near the Accademia dei Georgofili and in which 5 innocent lives were lost.

The personnel who will make the special opening possible will do so on a completely voluntary basis. Depending on the number of staff available, it might be possible to offer guided tours of the collections. The times and program of these visits will be posted later.

Between 6:05pm and 1am, visitors must use door #1 (normally used for visitors with advanced bookings) which will be the only entrance for the museum open at that time.