Designed by Giorgio Vasari to allow the Grand Dukes to move safely from their private abode of Pitti Palace to the seat of government in Palazzo Vecchio, this extraordinary aerial walkway was commissioned by Duke Cosimo I de' Medici in 1565 on the occasion of his son Francesco’s wedding with Joanna of Austria. Thanks to the extraordinary organization of the building site, the construction works lasted just five months: a corridor of 760 meters from its beginning at the Uffizi to its end by the Buontalenti Grotto in the Boboli Gardens. In this section the Corridor passes over the streets, runs along the Arno River and crosses it, enters the palaces, bypasses the Mannelli Tower, overlooks the Church of Santa Felicita, and goes on with a sequence of views over the city that allowed the Dukes to catch its beauty and control it as well.
In modern times, since the Corridor was turned into a museum, it has often hosted paintings from the Uffizi collection. In particular, from 1970s until 2016, these premises house the large collection of the Uffizi’s self-portraits, started in the 17th century by Cardinal Leopoldo de' Medici, son of Grand Duke Cosimo II, and open to the greatest artists of every age up to the present day.
The design of its new arrangement modernizes the Corridor’s structure in terms of new safety rules, full accessibility and a new air conditioning system with special attention to energy-saving practices and the refurbishment of its original historic premises. Its 73 windows are one of the main focuses of the visit: through them one can in fact enjoy the view of the historic center as Grand Duke Cosimo did in the second half of the 16th century. Besides, along the way it is possible to admire a selection of Greek and Roman statues and ancient inscriptions, the sixteenth-century frescoes decorating the Corridor’s exterior, and two important sections dedicated to the history of the Corridor and the city: one in memory of the Via dei Georgofili bombing in 1993, with the exhibition of the paintings damaged by the explosion, and one, provided with original photographs, on the destruction of Florence during the Second World War.