The Vasari Corridor is an interesting and enigmatic attraction in Florence, Italy. Although it was opened to the public in 1973, you can only take Vasari Corridor tours by advance appointment or by purchasing tickets to one of the museums to which it is connected. If you want to specifically get Vasari Corridor tickets, you will most likely need to do so in a group of a certain size. Otherwise, you can purchase tickets to the Uffizi, for instance, and get access to the Vasari Corridor. When you make advance reservations you will also have the pleasure of skipping through what can tend to be very long lines at these popular attractions in Florence. Many reputable providers offer a number of itineraries that include Uffizi Gallery and Vasari Corridor tickets, as well as other combinations that include passage to the Accademia Gallery and Pitti Palace, to name a few.
In 1564, Francesco I de’Medici and Giovanna of Austria were set to be married. To mark the occasion, one of the things that his father, Cosimo I de’Medici, the Grand Duke commissioned, was the construction of a covered passageway, over a half mile in length, which would connect his residence (the Pitti Palace) with his place of work (the Uffizi Gallery). Construction of the Vasari Corridor was completed in a mere five months under the design direction of Giorgio Vasari. Although it certainly could have been seen as just another way for the wealthiest family in Florence to lavishly spend its money, there were also practical purposes for having the corridor built. The city was under the de facto rule of the Medici family and the Florentine Republic had just been broken up. The covered passageway shielded the Grand Duke and his family from ever having to participate in public functions if they did not so desire. They could even peak in on services at the Church of Santa Felicita without joining the minions below.
In present times, you can take Vasari Corridor tours and see many of the little-known views offered from the passageway, as well as the key attractions contained within it, including the amazing self-portraits corridor. The corridor itself houses over 1,000 paintings, all of them dating back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Some of the most impressive of all these works are the self-portraits of some of the great Italian Renaissance artists. When you visit the Vasari Corridor, you will be able to see portraiture of Rubens, Delacroix, Corot, and Giorgio Vasari himself, to name only a few.
Arranging for Vasari Corridor tours will allow you to walk nearly the entire corridor. It begins on the south end of the Ponte Vecchio, joins up with the Uffizi, crosses the Lungarno dei Archbusieri, before continuing on along the north bank of the Arno River, crossing the Ponte Vecchio. An interesting note that you will certainly hear about if you secure Vasari Corridor tickets is that Cosimo Medici had the butchers who were then stationed on the Ponte Vecchio removed and replaced with the goldsmiths and merchants that remain there to this day, as his sensitive nose did not find the scent of raw meat emanating through the halls of the newly constructed corridor to be to his liking.