IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE MEDICI FAMILY IN FLORENCE
The famous corridor, designed by Giorgio Vasari, connects the Palazzo Vecchio and the Palazzo Pitti. It’s one of the structures that are symbolic of power in Florence.
From the 17th century, the passageway was decorated with works of art. The most extraordinary collection is undoubtedly the self-portraits, including several hundreds of artists from Italy and abroad, from the 16th century to modern times.
The Palazzo Vecchio, which overlooks Signoria square, has been the seat of government in Florence since the end of the 13th century. The Palazzo Pitti was chosen by the Medicis as the primary residence of the ducal family from the mid-16th century.
In 1565, Cosimo I appointed the famous architect Vasari to create the passageway linking the two banks of the Arno river via the Ponte Vecchio bridge. He aimed to let members of the Medici family move freely in the city centre, safely and out of sight of the people, due to the constant risk of attack.
The kilometre-long Vasari Corridor starts from the Green Room of Eleanor of Toledo, the wife of Cosimo I de’ Medici. It travels through the Uffizi Gallery, along the Arno river and crosses the Ponte Vecchio bridge, passing over the houses.
Before being home to goldsmiths and jewellers, Ponte Vecchio was a market where the city’s butchers sold meat. According to legend, the Medici family couldn’t tolerate crossing this foul-smelling place unfit for nobility. They removed butchers and invited goldsmiths to open their shops on the bridge.
The corridor continues its path around the Tuscany tower house belonging to the Mannelli family, who refused to let architect Vasari go through their home. It then passes through the Santa Felicita church, allowing the family to access their private balcony to attend mass away from the people. The corridor ends in Boboli Gardens, in the Buontalenti Grotto, within the grounds of the Palazzo Pitti.
Today, you can visit the corridor by appointment and immerse yourself in the city’s history and the rich and powerful Medici family. You’ll enjoy unique views of Florence and its monuments and pass through some of the most beautiful parts of the old town.