If, quoting Mel Brooks or Tom Petty, it’s good to be the king, being part of the Medici family in the Renaissance Florence wasn’t bad at all. Another – among many – example? The Corridoio Vasariano, the private link between north and south banks of the Arno river.
Corridoio Vasariano: a “personal highway” on the Arno
As we said in the previous post about the Uffizi Gallery, the Corridoio Vasariano is a “wedding gift” (the marriage between Francesco I de’ Medici and Joanna of Austria) thus, a family business. But when it comes to the Medici family, the business is big enough to become a one kilometer long structure…
Giorgio Vasari, again
Giorgio Vasari is again the man in charge of the job.
It is 1565. Vasari is 54 years old, and he is at the top of his career.
After working in Rome – for the Pope – for a while, Vasari had gone back to Tuscany and Cosimo de Medici became his patron. In 1554 he had been the supervisor of the Palazzo della Signoria / Palazzo Vecchio architectural overhaul; since 1560 is in charge of the Uffizi construction works; it just perfectly makes sense that the perfect fit to the role of designer of the Corridoio, the elevated corridor which will allow the Medicis to back and forth between the family palace – Palazzo Pitti – and garden – Giardin di Boboli – on the south side of the Arno, and the administrative buildings on the north side of the Arno: the Uffizi.
Standing up against the Medici!
The plan was an easy one: an as direct as you can link, building straight over the preexistent palaces and Ponte Vecchio. With an exception: the Torre Mannelli…
The Mannelli family Tower was part of Ponte Vecchio. It should have been ravaged to make room for the corridor, but the Mannelli opposition was so fierce that it has a “detour” around the tower, a detour that is still evident from the Ponte vecchio.
Corridoio Vasariano today
The Corridoio Vasariano is now part of the Galleria degli Uffizi. While we are writing is under renovation: Vasari was a great architect indeed, but today’s climate change need a better air conditioning system… stay tuned for the 2018 reopening: I’ll bring you there! 🙂