THE VASARI CORRIDOR: FLORENCE
The Vasari Corridor is a kilometre long passageway that connects the Uffizi Gallery to the Pitti Palace in Florence Italy. The entrance to the Corridor is located on the first floor within the Uffizi Gallery behind an unmarked door. It is likely that most visitors to the Uffizi, don’t even know that behind that featureless door stands a great treasure. The idea of entering an inaccessible, almost mysterious place makes the visit to the Vasari Corridor thrilling and intriguing.
Once you've entered the Vasari Corridor it looks like you have stepped onto another dimension since the atmosphere is quiet and silent, almost unreal and completely different from the rest of the Gallery.
Works are still displayed according to guidelines issued in 1973 by a past director of the Uffizi Gallery.
The collection of artwork displayed along the Corridor's walls, are mostly works from the 16th and 17th centuries as well as a special and unique collection of artists' self-portraits.
The collection is one of the most complete in all Europe, first started by Cardinal Leopoldo de' Medici in the 17th century.
After you've taken just a few steps into the magical atmosphere of the Corridor this atmosphere is interrupted, even if just for a few metres, as you reach the area that was heavily damaged by a terrorist attack commissioned by the Italian mafia in 1993.
What impresses the most of the Vasari Corridor, in addition to the magnificent works of art on display, is the elevated and privileged position that gives you the opportunity to pass through some of the most beautiful areas of Florence's city centre, walking over the heads of the people below.
This was actually one of the main initial purposes for the construction of the Corridor for the Medici: the possibility to move freely and safely from their home in Palazzo Pitti to Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of government, passing and observing the people below while remaining unnoticed.
The central part of
the Corridor that goes over Ponte Vecchio is the most beautiful
panoramic point of view. Exactly halfway over the Ponte
Vecchio, Benito Mussolini in 1939 ordered the Corridor's small windows be
enlarged so that he could admire the great panorama over the Arno.
The windows were to be ready for Adolf Hitler's official visit to Florence: It is said he was so impressed by this magnificent panorama over the Ponte Vecchio that he ordered the bridge be saved from German bombing during World War II as they began their retreat from Florence. All the other bridges in Florence were destroyed.
MARY HAMILTON-SMITH : AUSTRALIAN WOMENS TRAVEL