Curiosities about the Vasari Corridor
The curiosities about the Vasari Corridor are many because since its construction the Vasari Corridor has always provoked strong emotions in the eyes and hearts of those who saw it for the first time. It is the symbol of the oestrus architect Giorgio Vasari during the Medici rule.
Its route runs through the heart of medieval Florence starting from the Palazzo Vecchio to the Palazzo Pitti revealing astonishing views of the city. Inside is a collection of self-portraits, unique in the world for quality and number of works present , the result of the passion for art of the last Medici. It was built in only 5 months for the Grand Duke Cosimo I de ‘Medici in 1565 to provide opportunities to the Grand Dukes to move freely and safely from their residence to the government palace. Among the curiosities of this passage, the first that we must point out is ‘ the path” around the tower de ‘Marinelli. As a matter of fact the Marinelli family has always opposed the power of the Medici who to build the Vasari Corridor had already torn down the old meat market and also was preparing to break down the tower of the opposing the family.
When the Vasari Corridor reaches the top and center of the Ponte Vecchio we can finally enjoy a wonderful view of its surroundings thanks to a series of large panoramic windows over the Arno towards the Ponte Santa Trinita. Of these windows, very different from the small and discreet portholes from the Renaissance, existed only two above the central arch but Mussolini had made two more in 1938 on the occasion of the official visit of Adolf Hitler (May 1938) to tighten the axis between Italy and Germany, visiting Rome and in fact Florence.
It is said that the view was highly appreciated by the Führer and the Nazi hierarchy, and perhaps this was the possible reason that the bridge was saved from destruction, in contrast to the fate of all the other citizen bridges following the Nazi retreat. As immortalized in an episode of the film Paisà of Roberto Rossellini, at the end of the Second World War the passage of the Vasari Corridor was the only north-south crossing point of the city. In August 1944, this passage was often exploited by the partisans to creep up behind the enemy lines, who controlled part of the city north of the Arno, while the south shore was occupied by the Allies.
After crossing the river Arno the corridor passes over the portico of the facade of Santa Felicita and with a balcony that, protected from prying eyes by a heavy gate, is located directly inside the church, so that the members of the Grand Ducal family could attend mass without going among the people.
The modern museum tour starts from Uffizi Gallery and ends in the Boboli Gardens at the “Grotta del Buontalenti”. Because of the narrowness of the corridor and protection requirements of the works, the Vasari Corridor can be visited only on appointment in a guided group.
For more information visit the Florence Museum web site or call us at (+39) 055-713655.
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