Visitors to Florence in Italy have long been awed by the works in two of the city’s finest museums: the Uffizi Gallery and the Pitti Palace. But, perhaps preoccupied by prime examples of Raphael, Botticelli and other Renaissance artists, many visitors let their stay come to an end without enjoying the walk along the elevated Vasari Corridor, which links the two museums (and the Palazzo Vecchio). It’s a shame, because the corridor shouldn’t be overlooked. By appointment only, a visit would reveal a vast array of other artworks, including the majority of the Uffizi’s collection of more than 1,700 self-portraits of master artists.
The corridor was built in 1564 under the order of Cosimo I de’ Medici, but art was the last thing on the mind of that first Grand Duke of Tuscany, who used it as a way to walk from his home to his offices without being troubled by the sometimes hostile populace. Designed by Giorgio Vasari, who started out as a painter but is better known today as an architect and the author of a comprehensive compendium on Renaissance (and earlier) master artists, the corridor was opened to the public in 1973.