Thursday 14 October 2021

How to visit the Vasari Corridor in Florence

Update 14 October 2023: Visiting of the Vasari Corridor.

In May 2024, the Vasari Corridor will re-open to the public in completely renovated form. It will no longer be necessary to join a tour nor to make a reservation to enter and enjoy the Corridor.

The latest information on the renovated Vasari Corridor.

Update 14 October 2021: Visiting of the Vasari Corridor.

In an interview published by Corriere della Sera on 21 October 2021, the director of the Uffizi, Eike Schmidt, expounded on his vision of the "contemporary" Uffizi. One question that interests me and probably a lot of my readers was:"There's been a long wait for the reopening (of the Vasari Corridor) but isn't 45 euros for a ticket to visit the Corridor too much?", Schmidt explained that the price is much lower than the one demanded by the private agencies (essentially ticket scalpers) who routinely snatched up the few tickets available before the corridor closed in 2016. In essence, his reply continued to the effect that the price is determined by the market. 

I'm not all that convinced by the Director's neo-con economics response.The Vasari Corridor, with 125 admissions at a time, will obviously have more demand than supply during high season, and therefore can impose high prices (even much more than 45 euros). In low season, the price will drop to 20 euros to be competitive. And it is clear that these prices make both the museum's accountants and the ticket scalpers, who will ask for a large share of tickets, happy. It is a pity, however, that the Uffizi, as a public service, does not work more for the benefit of the tax payers who have invested 10 million euros into renovation of the Corridor, rather than for the bank balances of the museum and the scalpers. The taxpayers have invested rightly, given that citizens must be able to benefit from the heritage that belongs to them, but wouldn't it be reasonable that they don't have to pay a lot of money all over again to enjoy this heritage?

Update 18 March 2021: Tours of the Vasari Corridor.

IMPORTANT: there are no legitimate tours of the Vasari Corridor being offered currently but it looks like that the Vasari Corridor will re-open on 27 May, 2022, and will be accessible by ticket. Apparently it will not be necessary to be part of a tour group.

Eike Schmidt, the director of the Uffizi Gallery, has announced that the Vasari Corridor will officially become a part of the Uffizi after reopening in 2022. Visitors will then be able to enter the Uffizi, stroll through the Vasari Corridor and then explore the Boboli Gardens or the Pitti Palace. Tickets will cost €45 in high season, €20 in low season and will be free for students.

Route of the Vasari Corridor in Florence
Route of the Vasari Corridor in Florence

One disappointing aspect is that the many excellent self-portraits currently hanging in the Vasari Corridor will be removed because it won't be possible to climate control the corridor suitable for paintings on canvas and wood.

The Vasari Corridor from above
The Vasari Corridor from above
According to the official Uffizi website, no tours of the Vasari Corridor are now available, and anybody who offers such a tour is committing a fraud:

"False information concerning nocturnal visits of the Uffizi and Vasari Corridor
The Administration of the Uffizi Galleries confirms that these promotional contents are totally unfounded. From 1 December 2016 until further notice the Corridor remains closed for works of safety regulatory compliance. Consequently no bookings will be accepted.
False information is spreading on Facebook about nocturnal openings of the Uffizi and Vasari Corridor on various dates with visits organized by associations/groups which are unknown to us, such as Firenze Vista di Notte. The Administration of the Uffizi Galleries has already filed a lawsuit against the fraudsters and confirms that these promotional contents are totally unfounded."

The official website for the Uffizi tickets is - once again note that many other official-looking web sites offer Uffizi tickets at enormous markups.

Vasari corridor Uffizi Florence
Interior of the Vasari Corridor in Florence as it was until closed in 2016.

The corridor was lined with paintings, the more interesting ones being an amazing series of self-portraits by famous and not so famous artists, including a surprising number of the Pre-Raphaelites - for example, a very fine self-portrait of William Holman Hunt. These pictures will now be displayed elsewhere in the Uffizi and will be replaced by thirty ancient sculptures along with a space dedicated to 16th century frescoes. 

Empty interior of the Vasari Corridor

The corridor had a doorway and still has a window opening into a balcony high up in the church of Santa Felicita so that the Medici family could attend mass privately, without being seen or subject to attack. The especially large windows overlooking the Ponte Vecchio were specially created for a visit by Mussolini in the late 30's. Part of the corridor snakes around the Torre Mannelli which belonged to the only family that Cosimo I was unable to buy out. Instead of building through the tower, Vasari built around it using a system of supporting brackets. Cosimo was quite sanguine about this - every man is king in his own house, he reportedly observed. The meat market on Ponte Vecchio was moved to avoid its smell permeating the passage, its place being taken by the goldsmith shops that still occupy the bridge.

More about the Vasari Corridor in the 19th and 20th centuries.

More about what to see and do in Florence.

More about Florence Museum Cards and Florence Museum Passes.

Author: Anna Maria Baldini

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