“A Museum Made for Lingering…or Not,” Wall Street Journal article on the Botticelli Room in the Uffizi Gallery

FLORENCE — Blessed is the museum whose collections include works that have moved from the status of arthistorical gem to coffee-mug icon. Or maybe not. All those gawkers frequently result in visitor traffic jams along with potential security risks. It’s a challenge most of us have encountered somewhere (trying to see the Mona Lisa in Paris), and museum directors find themselves torn between joy of filled coffers from paying multitudes and regret about the likely attendant dissipation of aesthetic enjoyment. A fresh solution to this dilemma has recently been attempted at this city’s Uffizi Gallery. Commissioned around 1560 by Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, who engaged Giorgio Vasari (1511-74) to design the building as state offices, the Uffizi was a relatively late addition to the city’s many architectural wonders. Entered via the historic Piazza della Signoria, the Uffizi’s elegantly modest facing colonnaded facades are among the world’s great art destinations. Handling the resultant crowds is both a museum director’s dream and nightmare. The goal of satisfying conflicting demands of tourists with budgeted time and art lovers who long to linger may have been achieved in the Uffizi’s newest iteration of gallery renovations.