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Henry M. Robert

Masterpieces only a click away

One of Italy’s most prestigious museums – the Uffizi Gallery in Florence – is going online
9 October, 2017 - 18:11
REUTERS photo

The famous Florentine museum, which comprises the Vasari Corridor, the Palazzo Pitti, and the Boboli Gardens, has taken a new step to popularize itself – it has launched a website in Italian and English (www.uffizi.it). At the moment, you can only see a small number of artworks on this site, but the museum staff has set itself an ambitious goal to post a thousands-of-pages database for all the collections as soon as next year. All the digital images of the exhibited items are of a very high quality and accompanied by an explanatory text in an accessible language. There will be a special chapter for academics, where one can get consulted about the museum’s masterpieces – from classical antiquity to this century.

Now the gallery must seek the closure of a host of unofficial websites which use the previously unprotected domain Uffizi (also Uffizi.com and Uffizi.org). “Most of them were mainly created to sell overpriced tickets,” the museum’s announcement says.

Incidentally, Italy ranks first in the world by the number of cultural monuments, but none of the country’s galleries is among the world’s most visited museums. Compare this: the Louvre annually receives about 8.5 million visitors, the British Museum 5 million, while the Uffizi Gallery only 1.5 million – mainly due to obsolete websites that contain texts in Italian only. In August 2015 the government of Italy took an unprecedented step dubbed as “great cultural shake” – it replaced the directors of 20 museums.

It will be recalled that Den/The Day has long and systemically been popularizing the Ukrainian historical heritage. For example, the web portal Ukraine Incognita (incognita.day.kiev.ua), which has existed for seven years now, offers virtual tours of more than 30 best museums and sights in this country. As Den’s editor-in-chief Larysa Ivshyna pointed out, “anybody can visit our website and have an online excursion to, say, the Museum of the Volhynian Icon, or see the 9th-12th-century Kholm Miracle-Working Icon of the Holy Virgin. I think it is the best and most rational way to culturally embrace the new space.”

By Anastasia RUDENKO, The Day
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