Florence has the most fabulous art museum in Italy, and as usual we have the Medici to thank; for the building that holds these treasures, however, credit goes to Grand Duke Cosimo’s much maligned court painter. Poor Giorgio Vasari! His roosterish boastfulness and the conviction that his was the best of all possible artistic worlds, set next to his very modest talents, have made him a comic figure in most art criticism. Even the Florentines don’t like him.
On one of the rare occasions when Vasari tried his hand as an architect, though, he gave Florence something to be proud of. The Uffizi (‘offices’) were built as Cosimo’s secretariat, incorporating the old mint (producer of the first gold florins in 1252), the archives, and the large church of San Pier Scheraggio, with plenty of room for the bureaucrats needed to run Cosimo’s efficient, modern state.
Images by Carole Raddato, Emiliano, John Menard, Paolo Villa, Creative Commons License, PD art, PD Art, Web Gallery of Art