lunedì 16 gennaio 2012


The Vasari Corridor is one of the most amazing building in Florence, if not in the world.

The Corridor was build as a private walkaway connecting Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of the government, to Palazzo Pitti, the residence of the  Grand Duke.

It was Cosimo I dei Medici in 1565 who ordered his trusted architect, Giorgio Vasari, to build this special passage. The occasion was the celebration of the wedding of his son Francesco with Maria Giovanna d'Austria: every invited should have been surprised by this private passage, a sign of wealth and power.

It took only 5 months to Giorgio Vasari to finish the Corridor with the cost of 11.000 shields, not so expensive if you think that the Uffizi costed 100.000 shields and Santa Trinita Bridge 60.000. Another success for Giorgio Vasari, who was the only one able to understand, interpret (and contrast when needed) Cosimo's willing, making their relationship a strong and fruitful partnership for the city of Florence.

This private passage had many functions for Cosimo: first of all it allowed the court to walk trough the city, crossing the river Arno, without mixing with other people, without using constantly an armed escort. It was useful as an emergency escape in case of rebellion against the Government which was always something to consider at those times.

It was a useful instrument of control: from its small rounded windows that you can easily notice when you walk on the Ponte Vecchio, Cosimo could hear persons talking (maybe conspiring against him) on the streets without been noticed. The windows on the river are instead, big and squared offering to the visitors breathtaking and unique views of the city and the river. That's why walking along the corridor I usually think that the Medici family were not only art but also views collectors!

The Corridor hosts the biggest collection of the world of self portraits of artists. The collection was begun by the Cardinal Leopoldo dei Medici who in 1664 decided to ask to the artists he was most familiar with to send him their self portraits. At his death he had collected about 80 pieces located between Palazzo Vecchio and his residence in Palazzo Pitti. The Grandukes after him continued this collection till today, holding about 1300 self portraits, of which only 400 are displayed in the Corridor for space reasons.

Now the Corridor is not accessible to the public but can be opened on special request to the Opera Firenze Musei. The cost for a private visit (which means that just you and your friends or family group up to 12 persons will be the only visitors for that particular time frame) is 485€, plus the cost of a private guide that will add some precious information during the visit. The booking procedure is a bit complicated, I can do it for you! For info you can contact me at

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