It is not easy to get inside the Vasari Corridor - the Medici didn't intend many people outside of their family to cross from their Old Palace (Palazzo Vecchio) to their new larger home - The Pitti Palace - on the South side of the river (Oltrarno) - the entrance and indeed the path of the corridor itself, is easy to see and follow but the small circular windows were designed so no troublemakers would ever get enough view of their enemy to take a successful pot-shot at them. The Corridor starts from the Palazzo Vecchio but the corridor tour starts from the second gallery of the top floor of the Uffizi and the first thing that surprised me was the space - from the bridge this looks like quite a narrow corridor but there is a surprising breadth to the corridor - Vasari was a clever architect. He was also a clever negotiator because at one point the corridor takes a detour as it rounds the last tower on the Ponte Vecchio . The family who owned it refused to allow even the Medici to walk through their home on their way to the Pitti Palace so Vasari did a deal with both parties that the family could continue along the path without descending the street - but they had to build a special buttress and create a path around the tower. They also continued to build above their new local Church of Santa Felicita , making special arrangements for a grid so they could join the service without descending to the public there either! Finally the tour ends by the Grotto of Bontalenti in the Boboli Gardens.
But let's return to the paintings in the Corridor - well it is a bit annoying to find that most of the women artists work in the Uffizi is hidden here - although it is excusable as the majority of paintings in the corridor are self-portraits and the likes of Angelica Kauffman painted herself in various guises to show her potential clients how good a likeness she could achieve -so her work is largely hidden in here. Also Annibale Carracci whose self portrait with a monkey was one of the high spots of my first visit to the Uffizi all those years ago. My favourite self-portrait there is of a smiling Zoffany - thoroughly enjoying his five years in Florence under commission to Queen Charlotte to paint the most important paintings in the Uffizi in the Tribuna - he looks so wickedly cheerful - a true Don Giovanni - and he really does paint fur remarkably well - I cant wait to visit again in May 2013
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