Secret Uffizi open for a month

Andrea del Castagno at Contini Bonacossi Colletion

As you probably know, Florence has plenty of things to see. Sometimes it’s impossible to keep up with exhibits, special events, openings and so on, so much and so huge is the historical heritage of the city.

Yesterday we had the opportunity to visit an extraordinary hidden art collection of the Uffizi Gallery. Thanks to a special initiative of the cultural association Amici degli Uffizi (Friends of the Uffizi) during March you have the chance to visit the precious and unknown Contini Bonacossi Collection that has unique masterpieces.The Contini Bonacossi Art Collection is part of the Uffizi heritage and is located within an anonymous building on via Lambertesca, in front of the Georgofili Academy. The present arrangement in the ancient squire’s palace dates back to 1993, when the collection was moved here from the Pitti Palace.

The collection displays many unique masterpieces by famous Tuscan artists, such as Cimabue, Agnolo Gaddi and Andrea del Castagno, as well as artwork by renowned European and Italian artists such as Goya and El Greco, Veronese, Tintoretto and Bernini.

In particular, we point out the breathtaking Virgin Mary with Child and Saints by Andrea del Castagno, a famous Florentine Renaissance painter, the beautiful Our Lady of the Snow by Senese Renaissance artist Sassetta, and the finely detailed Saint Jerome by Giovanni Bellini.

In addition to several paintings, the collection contains precious furniture, such as beautiful wedding chests, exquisite majolica ceramic pieces, including 11 large Della Robbia coat of arms and statues. The beautiful marble statue by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the St. Lawrence martyred on a gridiron, is the only Bernini statue in Florence.

All March long free guided tours to the Contini Bonaccossi Collection are being offered, a collection that unfortunately is generally closed to the public because the museum has a shortage of staff. Visits are in Italian and take place on Wednesday and Friday at 9.30 am and 11.30 am, Thursday at 2 pm and 4.15 pm. You can book through the Welcome Desk of the Amici degli Uffizi by calling the association at 055/284034 from 10 am to 5 pm.

It is a great initiative even if the guided visit is only in Italian. But even if you don’t know a word of Italian, I recommend you take the chance to visit this exceptional art collection and admire unique masterpieces of Italian art even without the commentary.