We have been waiting for todays tour for a week or so. I have known about this corridor which goes from the Palazzo Vecchio through the Uffici to the Pitti Palace for some time but it has become more well known since Dan Brown’s “Inferno” and more and more people are interested in seeing it. But is still not completely open to the public so you need to request a private tour – which we did. This was built by Georgio Vasari back in the time of the Medici’s when they did not want to walk from the government offices through the streets to the Pitti Palace. At the time there were butcher shops on the bridge and it smelled. They also did not want to walk with the rest of the rif-raf. So the Vasari corridor was built and kept a secret for awhile, I think. It was finally opened to some of the public in the 1970’s. Before that it was completely unused – other than those associated with the museums. Our landlady tells us that as the Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge that was not bombed by the Germans in WWII the corridor was actually used by the soldiers to do a surprise attack on the Germans toward the end of the war. We had a wonderful tour guide. She was telling us that the art professionals can not make much money so they become tour guides. And she sure knew her stuff – and had a passion for it. We had her to ourselves as we walked from the Pitti Palace over the bridge to the Uffici to officially start the tour. We joined up with 4 more people and started our museum tour. I apologize for the pictures. I had to sneak them in since the taking of photographs were forbidden. Our tour guide knew so much about the art we were seeing and there is a story to every work, it seems. We could have looked at some of these works like Sandro Botticelli‘s The Birth of Venus and Primavera and never seen it the way she was describing it and the history surrounding the artist and dates of his work. We only spent about 2 hours with her in the museum part so we got just a little taste of what the Uffici has to offer but that is okay because of the pass we bought – we can go in whenever we want. So the next big rainy day we can spend there. After the museum part of the tour several others joined our little group for the corridor tour. We spent the next hour learning the history of the corridor and seeing some great masterpieces which line the walls, including the museum’s famous collection of self-portraits. We tried to envision ourselves walking in this passageway during the time of completion in 1564. We finished the tour in the Pitti Palace Grotto area. It was wonderful!
So that was our big event of the day. The rest of the day we needed to do another water run and grocery purchases and go later to dinner tonight. They are putting up Christmas lights now so we want to go out later to take a look.