Being a bit more Banksy than Botticelli, I knew I had to do ‘the art thing’ during The Boy and I’s time in Florence but didn’t want to waste time or money on anything less than the best of the best.
Upon discovering the Uffizi Gallery & Corridoio Vasariano (or Vasari Corridor) Tour on Florence24 (the creme de la creme – or Italian equivalent – when it comes to city tours), the decision made itself.
Starting our three-hour tour at the Uffizi Gallery, our astute art historian tour guide talked us through the highlights of the museum’s collections – most of which were left by the Medici to the state of Tuscany so that they could “adorn the State, be of utility to the Public and attract the curiosity of Foreigners”.
They have more than succeeded, now housing one of the world’s most famous museums.
After an educational traipse past the Birth of Venus, Doni Tondo, Venus de’ Medici and many more, we reached the ironclad highlight – the Vasari Corridor.
The Corridor, you see, is a somewhat secret above-ground passageway and a space very rarely open to the public. It was designed to let Francesco I de’ Medici (the Grand Duke of Tuscany) and his wife (Joanna of Austria – the Grand Duchess) move freely between his residence and the government palace without having the monarch-chronic anxiety of being seen in public. With one entrance in the Uffizi and one in the Pitti Palace, it stretches across the Ponte Vecchio and loggiato of the church of Santa Felicita with privileged, panoramic views along the way. Both inside and outside (the Corridor now hosts the Uffizi’s unique and plentiful collection of self-portraits).
Altogether, I left the tour feeling Botticelli as ever.