Link to overview of Florence pages

Artists of the Italian Renaissance

The Vasari Corridor (and Uffizi)

Bookings for tours of the Vasari Corridor:  +39 055 265 4321

Link to page on the Medici Family

Link to other self portraits in the Uffizi collection

Link to Florence Restaurant listing


The building of the Uffizi ordered by Cosimo I (de' Medici) and supervised by Giorgio Vasari was commenced in 1560.  The idea was to get the thirteen Guilds and Magistrates who administered the City under one roof - or more exactly in closer proximity to Cosimo so he could control them better.  As a collateral benefit the Medicis were to get the top floor for their art, theatre, etc. without paying anything.


At the same time Cosimo's wealthy wife, Eleanor of Toledo, had bought and was extending the Pitti Palace on the other side of the Arno.  So, in 1565, well before the Uffizi had been completed, Vasari was also set to work building his "corridor" - a collection of linked galleries between the Palazzos Pitti and Vecchio which lent a new meaning to the phrase "journey to work" for  Cosimo ... no more bodyguards or mixing with the masses, and plenty of opportunity to secretly spy on the activities of his subjects - a control freak's paradise!  Cosimo even ordered the closure of the smelly butchers' shops then on the Ponte Vecchio. 


Tours of the Corridor were restarted in 2000 after many years of repairs following a Mafia bomb attack in 1993.  Tours are conducted in various languages and must be booked in advance - phone 055 265 4321.  The tours start in the Palazzo Vecchio, and move up through the Hall of 500 and some of the Medici private apartments, and then through the East Corridor of the present Uffizi Gallery to the Vasari Corridor proper, which is lined with hundreds of artist self portraits from the Uffizi collection.







View down the East Corridor of the Uffizi to the Palazzo Vecchio, with the Duomo in the background.



Giorgio Vasari (1512-1574 (62)) (Self Portrait c1567))

Architect, Artist, Writer, Renaissance Man






Above:  Vasari's "Hall of 500" in the Palazzo Vecchio


Above Right:  Eleonora's Chapel in the private apartment section of the Palazzo Vecchio


Right:  A novel form of target practice captured on one of the Grotesque ceilings decorating the East Corridor of the Uffizi Gallery - also part of the Vasari Corridor tour.




The Paolo Giovio (1483 - 1552 (69)) Portrait Collection


Paolo Giovio, physician, historian and biographer, collected portraits of the famous (including the Medici) in his house on Lake Como until his death in 1552.  Duke Cosimo I, fearing (correctly) that the collection would be broken up and lost after Paolo's death, had Cristofano dell'Altissimo and Agnolo Bronzino copy all the portraits, using a uniform format.  The resultant portraits are now in the Uffizi collection, and many of them are on display propped up on a sort of picture rail high up on the walls of the two corridors of the gallery - which is only marginally better than not being on display at all as they are mostly in shadow and anonymous.  Many of the Renaissance people portraits you see in books come from this collection - you can usually pick them because the name of the subject is printed on them using uneven gold upper case letters - like the copy of a Machiavelli portrait below by dell'Altissimo now in the Galleria Doria Pamphilj in Rome.



The "Vasari Corridor" gallery over the Arno is located directly under the terracotta tiled roof

On the North bank of the Arno, the Corridor runs on top of the arches shown on the left

The Ponte Vecchio Bridge crossing outside (in 1975) and inside (in 2000) (see some of the self-portraits)


Views from the Bridge section of the Corridor - above looking west, and left looking east back towards the Uffizi.







At the south end of the Ponte Vecchio the Corridor had to be cantilevered around a torre whose owner refused to give way - even to Medici Duke Cosimo!




Photos from "An Art City at War"


The Ponte Vecchio - the only bridge left standing by the retreating German army as Florence is taken by the 8th Army in August 1944.







Further south, the Corridor emerges from an apartment building and is built on to the facade of  Santa Felicita.  A door leads from the Corridor to the private "Medici Box" overlooking the church.  Pop in to Santa Felicita to see the Pontormos (near the street level doors), then it's on to the destination - the Pitti Palace (bought by Eleanor of Toledo), now home to the Galleria Palatina and the odd pebblecrete sun lover.





Pontormo - Annunciation with a difference (and a postcard pic showing face detail) - Cappella Capponi,  Santa Felicitą








We would go to the Palatine Gallery just to see

Perugino's beautiful "La Madalena".




This self portrait by Raphael (1483 - 1520) is in the main Ufizzi Gallery.


LINK to other portraits (some self) of Raphael


LINK to other self portraits in the Uffizi collection.


For other Paradoxplace links visit the home page


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