This story keeps heating up - here is an article from the AP with some juicy quotes from some Italian officials:
""It's absolute madness to send such works running around," Zeffirelli said. "The minister who authorized this must be stopped."
Paolo Amato, a center-right senator, has demanded twice in parliament that Rutelli desist from the project, and now threatens to chain himself to the Uffizi's gates on the day the painting leaves. He said the loan exposes a priceless masterpiece to unnecessary risks and belittles its significance by using it in a commercial event.
"It's like sending the 'Mona Lisa' to promote French cheeses," he said referring to the Leonardo masterpiece kept in Paris' Louvre Museum."