Dating to 1345, Ponte Vecchio was the only Florentine bridge to survive destruction at the hands of retreating German forces in 1944....
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Corridoio Vasariano information
This 1km-long covered passageway bridges the Arno river, connecting the Palazzo Vecchio with the Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Pitti . It was designed by Vasari in 1565 to allow the Medicis to wander between their two palaces in privacy and comfort. In the 17th century the Medicis strung it with hundreds of artworks, including self-portraits of Andrea del Sarto, Rubens, Rembrandt and Canova. The corridor is open to a privileged few by guided tour. Reserve in advance with Florence Town or Caf Tour & Travel .
The original promenade incorporated tiny windows (facing the river) and circular apertures with iron gratings (facing the street) to protect those who used the corridor from outside attacks. But when Hitler visited Florence in 1941, his chum and fellow dictator Benito Mussolini had big new windows punched into the corridor walls on Ponte Vecchio so that his guest could enjoy an expansive view down the Arno from the famous Florentine bridge.
On the Oltrarno, the corridor passes by Chiesa di Santa Felicità , thereby providing the Medicis with a private balcony in the church where they could attend Mass without mingling with the minions. Stand in front of the Romanesque church on Piazza di Santa Felicitià and admire the trio of arches of the Vasarian Corridor that runs right above the portico outside the otherwise unnotable church facade. Inside, walk towards the altar and look backwards to see the Medici balcony up high (and imagine the corridor snaking behind it).