Originally designed by Vasari as an open loggia onto one of the most evocative views of Florence, the Terrace of the Map Room took on its current aspect towards the end of the 16th century, when Ferdinando I de' Medici decided to dedicate an entire room to the glorification of the political, military and economic power of his family. First his father Cosimo I and then his brother Francesco I had succeeded in unifying almost all of what is now Tuscany, which under Cosimo was officially given the title of Grand Duchy in 1569. Ferdinando I then commissioned cartographer Stefano Bonsignori to draw up an updated map of the domains of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, which included, highlighted in a different colour, the more recently acquired territories such as those of Siena. 

The task of painting the monumental maps on the walls was entrusted to Ludovico Buti, who produced elegant maps embellished with decorations, naturalistic and mythological motifs, around 1,200 place names written in gold letters, and even pictorial depictions of 16th-century landscapes and 'skylines' of many towns and cities, which in some cases are the first representations of those places ever.

The restoration works have been carried out by the Uffizi Galleries in collaboration with the Opificio delle Pietre Dure and with the contribution of the Friends of the Uffizi Galleries. They have been coordinated by Antonio Godoli (for the architectural part), Anna Bisceglia (for the scientific direction of the wall and panel painting's recovery), Cristiana Todato (for the technical direction) and Daniela Smalzi (for the documentary and archival research).

 To avoid crowds, the room is equipped with a computerised system that automatically regulates access to a maximum of twenty people.