Vasari Corridor to reopen in 2021

Visitors will have the chance to visit the Medici passageway

Editorial Staff
February 18, 2019 - 17:01

Plans have been announced to reopen the Vasari Corridor in 2021, marking a new chapter in the history of the famous Medici passageway.





At a press conference, director of the Uffizi Galleries, Eike Schmidt, announced the museum’s plans to reopen the corridor after it was closed in 2016 for safety reasons. Following 18 months of analysis, a call will soon be published in search for candidates to oversee the renovation, which is expected to last a year and a half.


The renovation work will include installing five new emergency exits, an air-conditioning and heating system, LED lighting and video surveillance. The project also calls for a restoration of the passageway's interior, specifically the walls, wattle and flooring. The monument will benefit from a new ground floor entrance next to the Vasari Auditorium, where visitors will be able to purchase tickets for the passageway. The route will only run from the Uffizi Gallery to Palazzo Pitti and will be open to no more than 125 people at a time. Upon reaching the other side, museum goers can choose between visiting the Boboli Gardens or continuing onto Palazzo Pitti.


Schmidt affirmed that opening the corridor will allow “half a million people to visit it every year. We wanted everyone to be able to enjoy this extraordinary heritage, and in total safety, offering visitors the opportunity to walk through the heart of Florence’s art, history and memory.”


The more than 700 portraits that have historically hung along the corridor will be moved to an alternative space and will be substituted by a collection of Greek and Roman inscriptions that have been in storage since the 1880s, alongside the nearly 30 ancient sculptures that were located in the corridor next to the portraits. The space will also be adorned with the 16th-century frescoes that were commissioned by Giorgio Vasari and will include two memorials dedicated to the 1944 and 1993 bombings that destroyed parts of the corridor.


Commissioned by Cosimo I de’ Medici in 1565 to celebrate the wedding of his son Francesco I and Joanna of Austria, the passageway allowed the grand dukes to move between their residence in Palazzo Pitti and their offices in the Uffizi and Palazzo Vecchio without needing to walk through the streets. Famously, in 1593, Ferdinando I banned the butcher’s shops that had historically lined the Ponte Vecchio due to the bad smells wafting into the corridor, after which jewellers opened up shop along the bridge, where they have been ever since.

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