Uffizi Gallery should definitely be your first stop upon arrival in Florence. My experience was nearly overwhelming; there is so much beauty under one roof. It is a beautiful former palace of the Medici family. It was built in 1560. It contains numerous rooms of masterpieces and countless pieces from ancient Rome.
The building itself is incredible. The architecture and the painted ceilings when you walk in are a masterpiece. In the hallways you will see many terrific sculptures.
The artwork that you will see as you walk from room to room will leave you simply in awe. Giotto's Madonna and Child, della Francesca's Duke and Duchess of Urbino and my favorite works by Botticelli’s. Primavera and of course his most famous Birth of Venus. They're huge and so full of mythological symbolism. Every time I look at them I find something I didn't notice before. Raphael, Michelangelo and Da Vinci also enhance this amazing experience. The Portrait of Pope Leo X with two Cardinals by Raphael is terrific. The faces on all three are so life like. Leonardo's first Madonna and child are remarkable. However I thought Michelangelo 's Madonna and child is so amazing. The details, the colors and the expressions jump out at you. There are so many awesome art pieces at Uffizi Gallery. It's surreal like you just wake up from a dream of living it out in the renaissance period.
The crowds and tour groups are somewhat justified when you consider what Uffizi Gallery has to offer. It is an absolute must for art lovers and art students in general.
Don`t miss the rooftop café. They have delicious food and offer a birds eye view of the Tower of the Palazzo Vecchio.
If you visit Uffizi Gallery find out when they open the gallery above the Ponte Vecchio. This holds self-portraits of famous artists but is only open a couple if times a year.
Well worth a visit, when in Florence. And allow at least several hours for your visit.
When I went to visit Uffizi Gallery there was a long line to get in. It seemed like it would have taken an hour or so to get in. Remember to invest in City Passes or tickets that allow you to bypass the line. It might cost a little more. Definitely look into these if you want to make this a stop on your trip.