Monday, October 15, 2007

The Vasari Corridor

By accident we got hooked up with a group of Japanese tourists with a reservation to see the Vasari Corridor. It's hard to get in to see this famous corridor/gallery, so we did it even though the fee was high (10 Euro for Uffizi and 39 Euro for the corridor! Though the 10 Euro fee was waived for us since we had the Amici degli Uffizi cards.)

From the start the whole visit was a mess and it was pure chaos getting into the Uffizi on a Sunday. We got ushered to the front of a very long line and there was a lot of grumbling. We got in with just enough time to grab a coffee at the café inside before the tour took off. The tour starts near room 25. There is a set of double doors that are closed and guarded that lead down to the corridor. Turns out we didn’t have a guide (so later we would get a bit of refund) just chaperones, one in front and one in back. 

Our group was about 17 people. We just ambled down the .33 km hallway from Uffizi to Boboli peeking out the round windows every so often onto unsuspecting people below in the streets. The real attraction of course is the collection of paintings that line the walls, especially the self-portraits of famous artists. 

We saw some of the damage from the 1993 car bomb which exploded near the start of the corridor. Several large paintings had blast damage. What a shame. Who did it is still a mystery. We exited at the Grotta di Buontalenti inside the Boboli Gardens. We were “told” to exit, wink, wink – but we just walked the gardens for another 3 hours (and avoided 9 Euro entrance fee for our friends with us). The gardens are still a treat and we’ll be returning many times in the coming weeks with the card that gives us free entrance. What’s even nicer is that we can enter near the Belvedere which is closer to our house. (The Belvedere is unfortunately closed currently.)

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