Will the Vasari Corridor finally open to the public?
The Vasari Corridor, a “secret” passageway elevated above the Ponte Vecchio which connects the Palazzo Vecchio with the Palazzo Pitti may become more available to the general public for visits. Built at the request of Duke Cosimo I de’Medici in 1564 and designed by Giorgio Vasari, the corridor has been exclusive even from its conception. For years it has only been accessible to an elite few, paying 45+ euros through tour operator groups with long waiting lists to walk through the passageway and admire the Uffizi Gallery’s famous collection of some 600 portraits, installed there since 1973.
The new Director of the Uffizi Gallery museum, Eike Schmidt, a German art historian elected to the position only a few months ago announced on Tuesday that he would like the corridor to become an option for museum visitors to visit with a simple and less expensive museum ticket. However, the passageway would be just that, an empty hall minus the portrait collection.
He explains that the collection of paintings would need to be relocated back to their original historic locations in the galleries of the Uffizi for a couple of reasons. In larger exhibition spaces, they would be more easily admired from a distance instead of in the hallway where too many people would be circulating. In addition, the climate conditions in the corridor are not ideal, too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter, with exterior walls not protected from the elements.
Another issue is the fact that the corridor does not have sufficient security exits to host large crowds of people. Especially for this reason, as well as a typically long bureaucratic process, the change could take a couple of years to be implemented.