A controversial rebirth for Renaissance treasure house

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Giant cranes move into place tomorrow at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence to begin work on a €30 million (£20 million) plan to increase exhibition space at one of the world’s foremost treasure houses of art.

The extension scheme, which will last between four and five years, envisages demolishing the remains of a medieval church where Dante and Boccaccio are said to have preached.

The project will increase space at the Uffizi from 8,100sq m (87,000sq ft) to 12,900sq m. Italian culture ministry officials insist that the gallery can no longer cope with its two million visitors a year.

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