Florence's Uffizi Gallery Is Spreading its Art Around Italy

As one of the oldest museums in the world, Florence’s Uffizi Gallery houses remarkable 13th to 18th century works from the likes of Botticelli, Correggio, da Vinci, Raffaello, Michelangelo, and Caravaggio. And soon, you’ll be able to see these Italian works outside of Florence—at museums in the artists’ hometowns as part of a new project called Uffizi Diffusi. 

“Art can’t survive on big galleries alone,” Uffizi Gallery director Eike Schmidt told CNN. “We need multiple exhibition spaces all over the region—especially in the places where the art itself was born.”

For now, Uffizi Diffusi will focus on at least 60 exhibit spaces across Tuscany, including Livorno (a popular cruise port) and two Medici villas on the outskirts of Florence. Italian news site Livorno Today reports that potential exhibits could also include a display of works related to Napoleon at Elba’s Forte Falcone, an island fortress where the French leader was once exiled.

As in the case of the Napoleonic pieces, the pieces on display outside of the Uffizi will have some sort of local connection to the museum or area where they’re on display, in an effort to give more context to the work and artist. At a press conference, Schmidt said that the museum is trying to spread out the large quantity of works that are currently in storage. By showcasing them in context, the museum is aiming to spotlight various parts of the cultural history of Tuscany.

While the details of the project—like which art is making the move and when it will be on view—are still under wraps, it’s hardly the first time the Uffizi has shared its collection. In 2019, a landscape drawing from the museum’s collection was put on display in Leonardo da Vinci’s hometown to mark the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death and an exhibit on the Battle of Anghiari was displayed in Anghiari, located in eastern Tuscany, with works from the Uffizi. 

By decentralizing the Uffizi’s collection, Schmidt hopes it will redirect travelers and locals alike across the region, instead of packing them all into Florence to see the famed works. (More than 14 million travelers visited the Renaissance city in 2019.) That’s not to say there won’t still be plenty to see in the Florentine museum. Schmidt told CNN, “We already have over 3,000 works of art on display in the Uffizi—that’s enough.”

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