Florence’s Uffizi Gallery is looking to share its wealth. The museum is launching a new program called “Uffizi Diffusi”—Italian for “scattered Uffizi”—to exhibit works from its renowned collection of Renaissance masterpieces at as many as 100 sites across the greater Tuscany region.
“Art can’t survive on big galleries alone,” director Eike Schmidt told CNN Travel. “We need multiple exhibition spaces all over the region—especially in the places where the art itself was born.”
With the ongoing pandemic preventing the institution from welcoming its normal 12,000 visitors a day, Schmidt hopes to “create a different type of tourism,” that will also serve to “ground culture in people’s daily lives.” Uffizi Diffusi would also provide an opportunity to show some of the thousands of pieces in the museum’s collection that are currently relegated to storage facilities.
The exhibition series isn’t ready to launch yet, but “we are going every week to Tuscan cities that are asking us to join the project,” a museum representative told Artnet News in an email.
One possible site is the Forte Falcone on the island of Elba, where the Uffizi hopes to show works related to French military leader Napoleon—who was famously exiled there—in time for the 200th anniversary of his death, on May 5, reports Livorno Today. (The museum put a marble Napoleon bust on special view for his 250th birthday in 2019.)
Schmidt visited the fortress on Monday in preparation for the exhibition.
On the mainland, the Terme del Corallo in Livorno, a former early-20th-century Art Noveau-style spa complex, hopes to become the “Uffizi of the sea,” Livorno Today notes. The long-shuttered Villa Medici at Careggi, located in the hills outside Florence, is also looking to take part in the program after it finishes renovations, according to NovaRadio.
The Uffizi has stayed busy despite lockdown. It developed a surprisingly robust TikTok presence, and acquired a piece by street artist Endless for a forthcoming gallery of portraits by contemporary artists. This year also saw the museum launch a new YouTube cooking show, #Uffizidamangiare featuring Tuscan chefs preparing local dishes that are connected to works on view at the institution.