Room 1 at the Uffizi Gallery reopens to the public after a long period of closure for renovation.
I saw it all! What a lucky chance that yet another event involving our sister organization Amici degli Uffizi took place during my last stay in Florence.
On June 11th I joined a very expectant crowd of invited patrons and members for the official opening of the renovated Hall 1, in the presence of Superintendent Cristina Acidini, the Uffizi Director Antonio Natali, Superintendent for the “New Uffizi” Alessandra Marino, the responsible architects and curator, and of course our President Countess Maria Vittoria Rimbotti who expressed her great pride in this umpteenth achievement of the Amici degli Uffizi.
She explained how the Amici readily undertook the funding of this renovation project in spite of the room being rather off the beaten path, located in the right corner of the Uffizi First Corridor and usually overlooked by the great public rushing to the left in search of the Botticelli’s.
However, the Amici mission is also to help the Gallery increase public awareness and appreciation of its artistic heritage, so in this new room – equipped with state-of-the-art air conditioning and protection technologies – art lovers will be able to fully appreciate the precious artworks dating from the second half of the twelfth century to the end of the thirteenth century, representing the most ancient Florentine and Tuscan panel paintings to be found in the Uffizi’s collection. And three out of the nine paintings – two huge crucifixes and a diptych – were restored last year thanks to the Amici’s support.
So don’t get all confused if your travel guides still list them in Room no. 2 alongside the “Maestà” by Cimabue and Giotto; or if Room 1 is still called “The Archeological Room” hosting ancient sculptures and plaster casts of the Augustan Ara Pacis.
This is all part of the work-in-progress for the New Uffizi grand project. It was so exciting to experience it all firsthand, and so rewarding and uplifting to feel a modern-day patron of this unique cultural heritage.