New Director Simone Verde’s Plans for the Uffizi Complex


Simone Verde

Simone Verde, former director of the Monumental Complex of the Pilotta, Parma and former head of scientific research and publications for the Louvre in Abu Dhabi, announces his ambitious objectives for the future of the Uffizi galleries as new director. His projects include reopening the Vasari Corridor, in its entirety, by the end of the year, creating an ad hoc museum on the ground floor of the Uffizi for children and removing the crane from the Boboli Gardens. He states that his work as director will be ‘a consolidation of the important results achieved by my predecessor Eike Schmidt.’

In efforts to reduce queueing for visitors wishing to avoid booking charges with digital tickets, Simone Verde has announced that this booking fee will soon be eliminated. Currently, the fee is €4 for the Uffizi Gallery, €3 for Palazzo Pitti and €3 for Boboli Gardens. The galleries will also extend opening hours to avoid overcrowding, providing a more appealing atmosphere for visitors. 

Verde will also be commissioning architects Gucciardini and Magni to aid in moving the ticket office out of the Uffizi Square and to the back of the building in order to provide a more inviting welcome to the visitors away from the ongoing construction taking place in the square. 

Perhaps the most remarkable of Verde’s ideas is the complete reopening of the Vasari Corridor before the end of the year, with aims to open the first section by late autumn. Commissioned by Grand Duke Cosimo I in 1564, the Vasari Corridor, which runs from Palazzo Vecchio through the Uffizi gallery, above the Ponte Vecchio and terminating at the Boboli Gardens, was built so that the ruler of Florence could reach his home from his office, and vice versa, without having to step foot on the dirty city floors or confront citizens who were not enamoured with his style of rule. Today we know the Ponte Vecchio for its jewellery, but this is the lasting legacy of a once very unpleasant stench from shops which were once on the bridge. This smell prompted Ferdinand de’ Medici to pass a law in 1593 that Ponte Vecchio would be used for the gold trade instead of for the butchery trade. 

Another notable project that Verde has outlined is the creation of a centre for museum studies in the Casino del Cavaliere in Boboli Gardens. The director withholds that in line with the Uffizi’s legacy as one of the ‘real living encyclopaedia of the universal history of museums’’, the celebration of its role as predecessor and blueprint to various international museums ought to be focalised. This is to include new sections either reopening or being established in both the Uffizi and Palazzo Pitti with a furniture and tapestries section at Pitti, a history section dedicated to the Boboli Gardens, the reopening the Flemish Painters Room and the reconstruction of the Ricetto Delle Iscrizioni Room (ultimate two projects both at Palazzo Pitti and opening July 31). The Fashion Museum in Palazzo Pitti will also be reopening on July 16, with the director stating that there is an additional major fashion project currently in progress.

Verde also envisions creating an ad hoc museum for children on the ground floor of the Uffizi, not to mention updates for the windows and modernising the spaces in the Uffizi and new seating and lighting systems at Palazzo Pitti. 

The Uffizi is open Tuesday until December 17 from 8.:5 am to 10.00 pm and Wednesday to Sunday from 8:15 am to 6:30 pm. Palazzo Pitti is open from Tuesday to Sunday 8:15 am to 6:30 pm. (Lucy Turner)

Tickets for the galleries can be purchased online here.