The Uffizi Gallery, one of the world's finest museums, traces its origins to 1560 when Cosimo I de' Medici commissioned a large palace with two wings, on the river and almost in the air, to house the Florentine State's administrative and judicial offices (known as "Uffizi").
Vasari was responsible for the building, five years later, of an overhead corridor passing above Ponte Vecchio and the Church of Santa Felicita, to link the Uffizi to the Pitti Palace, the new residence of the Medici family, ending in the Boboli Gardens.
The true nucleus of the gallery, however, was created by Francis I, Cosimo's son, who transformed the top floor of the Uffizi into a place where one could stroll, with paintings, statues and other objects of value.
The Uffizi now house a huge artistic heritage consisting of thousands of paintings from medieval to modern times, a great number of antique sculptures, illuminations, and tapestries.
It is also famous for its collection of self-portraits, which constantly grew through new acquisitions and donations of contemporary artists, as well as for another remarkable collection, that of the Cabinet of Drawings and Prints.
Among the most famous works, the Birth of Venere and the Spring by Sandro Botticelli, the Tondo Doni, representing the Holy Family, by Michelangelo and the Medusa by the Caravaggio.