Palazzo Vecchio – The secret passage
Florence is a city that holds many treasures and priceless works of art. Today, however, we are not talking about a painting or a museum, but about a secret passage: the Vasari Corridor.
The Vasari Corridor is an elevated path that connects Palazzo Vecchio with Palazzo Pitti. This path passes exactly through the Uffizi and over the Ponte Vecchio. It was built in just 5 months in 1565 at the behest of the then Duke Cosimo I de ‘Medici by Giorgio Vasari. Vasari was already famous at that time; in fact, he had already built the current Uffizi Gallery.
The idea of the elevated path was born to allow the grand dukes to move without danger from their residence to the government palace. Security was important. The support of the population towards the new Duke was in fact still uncertain. Moreover, the new system of government had abolished the Florentine Republic, although the republican organs were only symbolic.
The corridor has a fairly linear route, made without substantial constraints of respect for existing buildings. The only exception is the tour around the Torre de’ Mannelli, at the end of the Ponte Vecchio. In fact, the family that owned this building strongly opposed the idea of pulling it down.
At the center of the Ponte Vecchio are a series of large panoramic windows overlooking the Arno in the direction of the Ponte Santa Trinità. These windows are quite different from the small and discreet Renaissance portholes. In the past there were two above the central arch. Mussolini had two more made in 1938 on the occasion of Adolf Hitler’s official visit. Hitler came here to tighten the Axis between Italy and Germany. It seems that the view was very pleasing both to the Führer and to his entourage. Perhaps this was even the reason that saved the bridge from destruction. All other city bridges did not have the same luck.