The boys and I had a wonderful opportunity very few people get to experience in Florence on Friday, we got to cruise the halls of the Vasari Corridor with the lovely Alexandra and E, and what a combination they are!
Firstly I have to point out Ross had his family over for a beautiful Italian vacation where they toured the streets of Rome and Venice. However, when they settled in Florence for a few days we got to meet the gang and spend a few hours with them hanging out at the Vasari Corridor and eating cake in a very beautiful Airbnb apartment where we celebrated Miss P turning 4. What a day!
E was in the Uffizi bright and early with Ross’s family showing them the highlights of the collection while the boys and I were busy at home scoffing hot cross buns on Good Friday morning (as you do!). We were to meet Ross and our tour guide, Alexandra, at the doors of the Uffizi gallery so we could then embark on our tour of the corridor.
For those of you who don’t know, the Vasari Corridor is an elevated passageway that stretches over 1 km, joining the Palazzo Vecchio with the Palazzo Pitti (across the river Arno) via the Uffizi. It was designed by Giorgio Vasari in the 16th century for Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici. The corridor was used by the ruling family as a means to walk safely through the city, above and removed from the citizens of Florence. Alexandra also went on to explain that the corridor was pushed to be finished in time for the wedding of Cosimo’s eldest son (the future Grand Duke Francesco I) to Giovanna d’Austria of the imperial Habsburg family, which made the art of discretion and walking above the streets of Florence an absolute necessity in the eyes of the Medici.
The boys and I greeted Alexandra with a million questions about living and working in Florence while we waited for Ross and Miss P to join us. In this short window of time I had the great pleasure of being ‘cursed’ by an old gypsy lady. She was annoyed I wouldn’t empty my purse into her cup and proceeded to accuse me of being a part of the worlds oldest profession-nice! Good to see she was not sparing the kids of her foul thoughts. With that out-of-the-way and my life apparently hanging by a thread Ross and Miss P arrived and we went on to meet the rest of the gang at an entrance to the Corridor which is situated in the Uffizi.
Entering the Corridor was like entering into another world, a world of quietness. As soon as we closed the door on the rest of the tourists it felt like we were separated from the rest of the city. I could see how this would of been appealing to the Medici family. As soon as the tour started Alexandra’s enthusiasm took us all off to another part of Florence, back to the beginning of the 16th century when she was telling the tales of the Corridor’s wicked past. There is something enchanting listening to a person who loves their job and is passionate about the art and history that hang on the walls of the corridor. We couldn’t help but be swept up. Of course E had her favourite paintings to talk about too and we all listened with hunger, the kids asking questions feeding their knowledge just that little bit more. I now know more about the Greco-Roman gods than I ever thought possible!
The tour takes about an hour and you can’t help but be in awe of the power the Medici family must have had as they walked these corridors secretly listening to the voices on the streets all those centuries ago. The walls are lined with fantastic art works from Florence and abroad; you are but a hair’s breadth away from paintings that were painted some 300 years ago.
The end of our tour came with the last 100-meters of the corridor leading into the Pitti Palace out-of-bounds, instead you are lead out another doorway into the Boboli Gardens (situated at the back of the Palace).
Here the voices of tourists and clicks of cameras suddenly brought you back to reality of today’s Florence. Once the grey doors closed and the sun was beating down on us the tour was over and we were left with all the wonderful stories and tales that filled our heads. Alexandra was so warm and friendly it just felt like she was a very knowledgable friend who you wanted to keep talking with over coffee. I can’t recommend Alexandra enough for a tour of Florence and especially the Corridor. If you are coming to Florence and interested in the history of the city then I urge you to contact Alexandra, book a tour and relax in the knowledge your mind will be full of stories from the past. After all it is hard to walk the streets of Florence and not wonder what was going on when the Medici reigned.
Alexandra’s contact details are:
cell +39 333 8689 458