The Vasari Corridor is a raised path connecting Palazzo Vecchio with Palazzo Pitti, passing through the Uffizi and over the Ponte Vecchio.
It was built by Giorgio Vasari, who already created the Uffizi Gallery, in just 5 months at the behest of the Grand Duke Cosimo I de ‘Medici in 1565. The Vasari Corridor was realized in occasion of the marriage between the son of the Grand Duke, Francesco, and Johanna of Austria.
It was realized to give opportunities to the grand dukes to move freely and without danger from their residence to the government building, given the still uncertain support of the population towards the new Duke and the new system of government that had abolished the ancient Florentine Republic.
Some curious stories:
the Vasari corridor had to tour around the Torre de ‘Mannelli at the end of the Ponte Vecchio, because of the strenuous opposition of the family that owns this medieval stone tower to overthrow it.
At the center of the Ponte Vecchio there are a series of large panoramic windows on the Arno river towards the Ponte Santa Trinita. Two of these ones were made by Mussolini in 1938 on the occasion of the official visit by Adolf Hitler (May 1938) to tighten the Axis between Italy and Germany, visiting Rome and Florence.
It is said that the sight was very pleasing to the Führer and the Nazi hierarchs who could enjoy it, and perhaps it was the possible reason that saved the bridge from destruction, unlike the fate of all other city bridges following the Nazi retreat.
The Vasari Corridor can be visited starting from the first floor of the Uffizi Gallery.
Beyond the Arno one observes another ‘curiosity of the Corridor or the’ overlooking the Church of Santa Felicita. Suddenly on the right there is a large window with iron grates and a balcony directly overlooking the Church. From here the Medici assisted at Mass, being able to count once more on a private and privileged position, which allowed them not to mix with the people.
The Vasari Corridor ends at the side of the famous Grotta del Buontalenti, in the Boboli garden.
The visits are generally reserved for groups with a limited number of people, due to the rather small size of the passage.