UPDATE January 18th 2012: New bookings available for the Vasari corridor!! Slots now available for dates between 17 January to 27 April (excluding the week from 5 to 10 April and 24 and 25 April). Eight tours will be organised each week: two on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9am and 11.30am and two on Wednesdays and Fridays at 2pm and 4.30pm. To book, phone Firenze Musei (number below in section “how to book tickets to the Vasari Corridor“.
About Vasari Corridor history
Did you know that there is a secret passageway that passes above Florence, from the Palazzo Vecchio, over the Ponte Vecchio and to the Boboli Gardens? If you look at the Ponte Vecchio from the outside you can see a row of windows all along the top; look at where those windows continue on either side. That is the Vasari Corridor.
The Vasari corridor was built by the architect and art historian Giorgio Vasari for his client Grand Duke Cosimo de’ Medici in 1564. At that time, Cosimo worked at the Palazzo Vecchio and lived at Palazzo Pitti with his family. Passing through the streets could be dangerous (and dirty!) so he had this passageway built. It has bonus features like a view into the church of Santa Felicita, just beyond the Ponte Vecchio, so that the Duke could assist in the mass from this private, unseen space.
And did you know that the jewelry stores on ponte vecchio are there because previously there had been meat shops along the bridge (handy for throwing scraps into the Arno); the Medici however found this to be rather stinky (think the days before refrigeration), so they kicked out the butchers and called for goldsmiths, which was more appropriate to the princely family.
The corridor in its present state houses the Uffizi’s collection of self-portraits that have been donated over the years by artists. At the end there are portraits by relatively modern artists like Chagall (see photos). There are amazing views out of the corridor onto the Ponte Vecchio and the Arno – take a look at the photos I took out of the windows!
How to book tickets to the Vasari Corridor
For the first time since 2003, the Vasari Corridor will be open for regular reserved visits. At the moment this is confirmed to take place from October 5th to December 16th, 2011. The tour, called “Percorso del Principe”, starts in Palazzo Vecchio, goes through the Uffizi, over the Ponte Vecchio, and exits at the Boboli Gardens. This route has been closed to the public since 2003; occasional visits begun inside the Uffizi.
WINTER 2012: Tours will be held Wednesdays and Fridays 14:00, and 16:30; Thursdays 9:00am and 11:30am.
For reservations, PHONE Firenze Musei +39 055/294883 from Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 6.30pm and on Saturdays from 8.30am to 12.30pm
Online reservations will be taken starting April 25, 2010 through the website www.polomuseale.firenze.it.
You are permitted up to 5 tickets in one booking. The fee for adults is 19 euros.
Guided visits will be held at specified hours Wednesday all day, Thursday morning, Friday afternoon.
Tickets are expected to disappear quickly .
Remember: if you are a GROUP of more than 10 people and wish to visit the Vasari Corridor outside of the assigned dates/times, you may make a request for a visit (by phoning +39 055294883). The price will be slightly higher than this special offer but it’s always worth it!
TuscanTraveler has written an excellent article on the Corridor!
All the details about Vasari Corredor also in italian.