Villa Foscari

Palazzo Vecchio - The painting with the UFO

Palazzo Vecchio has been the ancient seat of Florentine power for centuries and hides treasures of rare beauty. It is impossible to mention them all, from the Salone dei Cinquecento to the Studiolo di Francesco I, without forgetting the remains of the ancient Roman theatre or the striking Quartiere degli Elementi. But today we want to talk to you about a rather curious subject. Because as absurd as it sounds, Palazzo Vecchio is said to have some connection with UFOs, unidentified flying objects. Don't believe it?

If you go to the second floor of the Palazzo Vecchio, in the Sala D'Ercole, you can admire the painting entitled 'Madonna and Child with St. John'. It is a typical 'tondo' depicting the Madonna with the infant Jesus and the little Saint John. This work, attributed to the workshop of Filippino Lippi, has recently gained notoriety for its depiction of a probable UFO. If one analyses the work, in fact, at the bottom right, right behind the Madonna, one can make out a shepherd accompanied by a dog. The two small figures, however, instead of tending their flock as one would expect, are intent on scanning the sky above them.

If one looks up again, following that of the shepherd and the animal, one notices how the artist has inserted an element into the vault of heaven that is, to say the least, peculiar: a grey, circular object. An object with small protrusions reminiscent of a sort of moving spaceship. In short, a flying saucer.

Most art critics have obviously rejected this theory, claiming that the strange object would rather represent the cloud that illuminated the Birth of Christ, a recurring element in numerous other works. However, the painting does not cease to exert a certain fascination and even today, looking at it arouses some perplexity.

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Palazzo Vecchio

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.

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