The Vasari Corridor & its Self-Portrait Collection
Visit the magnificent Vasari Corridor in small groups with an English-speaking guide
The Vasari Corridor is a long, raised passageway that connects Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza della Signoria to Palazzo Pitti on the other side of the river Arno. It passes through and along some of Florence’s most important landmarks, over the Ponte Vecchio and ends up in the Boboli Gardens.
It is a very unique space, and closed to the general public, making access to it very exclusive. You can visit the Vasari Corridor through a private group tour!
A little bit of history…
The passageway was designed and built in 1564 by Giorgio Vasari (in just 6 months!) to allow Cosimo de’ Medici and other Florentine elite to walk safely through the city, from the seat of power in Palazzo Vecchio to their private residence, Palazzo Pitti.
It was at this time that the shops on the Ponte Vecchio – butcher shops until now – we’re sent away and jewelers given the space. This way the nobility didn’t have bad smells wafting up to them above!
The passageway contains over 1000 paintings, dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, including the largest and very important collection of self-portraits by some of the most famous masters of painting from the 16th to the 20th century, including Filippo Lippi, Rembrandt, Velazquez, Delacroix and Ensor.
While the first paintings were bought by the Medici family, after the collection started, the family started receiving the paintings as donations from the painters themselves. This has continued over the centuries and there are more paintings in the collection that did not have space to be exposed.
That was the case until September 2013, when the last part of the corridor was renovated and many self-portraits of more contemporary artists are now on display.
Visiting the Vasari Corridor
Currently, the Vasari Corridor is CLOSED to the general public but it CAN be visited with group reservations made by external tour and travel agencies throughout the year. The packages offered include various options, here are some for you to choose from (these are affiliate links: purchases made through them earns us a small commission):
Available between April and October, these small group tours are the best way to see the Vasari Corridor. Head to the secret passage the Medici used to cross over Ponte Vecchio and Arno to the Pitti Palace, including a view onto the private Medici balcony in the Church Santa Felicita enjoying the masterpieces and self-portraits along the walls as you walk along.
The tour is organized through Viator and lasts 90 minutes. It is offered at 11am on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and costs 79 euro. This tour does not include a visit to the Uffizi Gallery, which you still do need to enter to get to the Vasari Corridor. A similar tour, focusing on the Vasari Corridor and the history of the Medici family lasts 2 hours and costs 60 euro – available between March and October, the dates vary week by week so check your dates.
Another alternative tour of the Vasari Corridor + Boboli Gardens let’s you add the ticket for the gardens to return later in the day after your hour visit to the Corridor ends at 1pm.
Start with a guided tour of some of the top masterpieces in the Uffizi Gallery, including Botticelli, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. Then enter into the secret passage of the Vasari Corridor.
Tour is led by professional, licensed guide in English and lasts 2.5 hours. Offered every Thursday at 12.30pm. Cost starts at 97 euro per person and is offered by Florence-Tickets.com.
The same tour, a guided visit of the Uffizi and the Vasari Corridor, offered on Viator is slightly less, at 89 euro per person. It also last a little longer, at 3 hours (with the possibility of an upgrade that extends it to 4 hours) and is also in English and is offered between March and October almost every day at 3pm. The upgrade starts at 8am. You can do the same tour as a private tour at 140 euro per person (almost every day, lasts 4 hours)
At 115 euro per person, this is a great deal. It is pretty much a whole day tour, lasting about 8 hours and starting in Piazza della Signoria, then a guided visit to the Uffizi Gallery before entering the Vasari Corridor. After a break for lunch, you meet your group again in Piazza della Signoria (see the copy of the David) and walk toward the Accademia to see the original David. The tour ends in the Accademia where you can stay longer to admire the remaining collection. This tour is in English and is offered year round, almost every day.
There are several other options of tours of the Vasari Corridor and the Palatine Gallery at the Pitti Palace, whether it includes a guided tour of the Uffizi or not that go from 5.5 hours to 7 hours long. Starting at 85 euro, year round, starting at 9 or 11am.
Take a look at all of the Vasari Corridor tours offered through Viator by following this link:
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