The Uffizi Gallery is located on the second floor of the building originally designed by Giorgio Vasari is certainly rich of curiosity. This building was commissioned by the Grand Duke Cosimo I of Tuscany to house the headquarters of the Florentine courts.
The second floor was the place of the judicial offices, but was turned into a museum by the second Grand Duke of Tuscany, Francesco I, who turned it into the first museum of modern Europe. But it isn’t the only primacy claimed by the Uffizi Museum: in fact, it’s also the first most visited art Museum in Italy.
Curious is the story of the site on which the building was constructed: the whole neighborhood was rather infamous and degraded and one of the main places dedicated to prostitution in Florence. This city quarter was called “Baldracca” (i.e. prostitute), and it took its name by a homonym tavern, famous for its prostitutes. For Cosimo I was very easy to raze this place of sin known as “Baldracca” in order to build the headquarters of judicial offices that would bring together in one place the 13 main Florence magistrature.
Although most people don’t know it, the Uffizi took the place not only of taverns and brothels, but also of some buildings of great value, such as the ancient Romanesque church of San Pier Scheraggio and the Zecca Vecchia which were located, respectively, at the eastern and western horn of the horseshoe shape of the Uffizi. Practically, San Pier Scheraggio was at the entrance of via della Ninna (where some arches are embedded in the wall and still visible), while the Zecca Vecchia was located just behind the current Loggia dei Lanzi.