Besides Ponte Vecchio, the Vasari Corridor is the other landmark in Florence able to boast about linking some of the highest rated tourist hotspots in the city. Built in 1565 by Giorgio Vasari (who also shared in extensively to the design and embellishment of plenty of palaces in Florence) upon the demand of Cosimo de Medici, the corridor was intended for one chief use: as a means available for the Medici to move freely from the former Palazzo della Signoria (on the north bank of the Arno River) to the new residence, the Palazzo Pitti (on the south bank of the Arno River), with a call at the Uffizi Gallery; yet, the corridor was built under the guise of the celebration of the marriage of Francesco de Medici to Johanna of Austria.

The intended use of the corridor was indeed the one mentioned first, given the Medici resorted to it long after the marriage of Francesco and mainly for political reasons – they had to avoid the close contact with the Florentines both by reason of having hurt the republican pride of the people of Florence and because the Medici family affirmed their imposing presence once again by banishing the meat trade on Ponte Vecchio, replacing it with the nobler jewelry trade. It is true the Vasari Coridor is at present highly inaccessible to the public, the access being rather pricy and only with guided tours for small groups of visitors, not to mention the extensive restoration works planned to last until 2013.

However, opportunity might indeed arise, which is why tourists should keep in mind the main entrance to the Vasari Corridor is through the Uffizi Gallery, whereas the exit is somewhere in the Boboli Gardens. Despite all these considerations, in normal circumstances visitors usually have the possibility of admiring a series of self-portraits by various artists, which carpet one segment of the corridor (more precisely in the Uffizi section of the corridor), as well as other masterpieces clustered in time for the pleasure of the Medici. The original architectural structure of the corridor has been largely preserved, though some of its small windows through which the Medici used to contemplate the scenery and to observe the Florentines have been widened by order to Benito Mussolini in 1939. In addition, one must also take into account the losses incurred by the corridor as a result of a terrorist attack in 1993, but also as a consequence of World War Two when, despite the fact the corridor – and Ponte Vecchio, for that matter – was spared from the bombing, some of its parts were damaged to everyone’s sorrow.

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