The most important plan for the second day in Florence was visiting Ufizzi Gallery. It was just next to the Palazzo Vecchio we visited the day before, on the other side of the river Arno. We crossed the river from a different and very important bridge today: Ponte Vecchio.
Ponte Vecchio means ‘old bridge’. It was built in Roman times and 996 was when it first appeared on documents. It was destroyed in a flood on 1333 but was renovated soon after. Although Germans destroyed all bridges in Florence during WW2, they didn’t touch Ponte Vecchio.
There are shops on the two sides of the bridge. They are used to be butcher shops in the 15th century. Since they were causing a bad smell in this important part of the city, Medici replaced those shops with jewelry shops. Since then this bridge is full of valuable jewellery. The bridge was so crowded and alive. There were some street performers on the bridge all the time.
Ufizzi is one of the oldest art museums in the world. I visited this museum when I was 13, when I visited Italy with my family, but aside from some important pieces, I noticed that I don’t remember any details. The word ‘Ufizzi’ mean ‘offices’ in English. This place was built by Giorgio Vasari between 1560-1581, as offices for the Medici family. The whole building was full of statues and important art pieces that the Medici family has collected.
Today there are so many significant pieces from Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Raphael, Caravaggio, and Rembrandt in Ufizzi. There are also a good collection of portraits of Ottoman Sultans at the top floor. We read that there had been a strange event at 1993. A car bomb exploded very close to Ufizzi, which might have belonged to the Sicilian mafia, and caused damage to some important pieces in the museum.
Since it was forbidden to take pictures inside of Ufizzi, we don’t have any pictures in there, but we took one at the terrace. After we spent half a day in Ufizzi, we got back to the warm streets of Florence.
We bought some fruit from a local shop in the afternoon and had a short break at home. After gaining some energy we walked to Palazzo Pitti which was very close to our place.
Palazzo Pitti belonged to Luca Pitti, who was a successful banker in the 15th century. The Medici family bought the palace in the 16th century, and it became a residence for Toscana dukes. It has been one of the most significant art galleries in Florence since 1919, and is open to the public. There are royal apartments, a modern art gallery, silver museum, porcelain museum, costume museum and transportation museum in the palace today.
Before we got back home in the evening, we ran into another street performer. It was an incredibly funny show. We stayed there for almost an hour and watched the show until it ended. On our second day in Florence we were sure that all of us were in love with the city.