Did you know that the Uffizi Gallery in Florence has one of the largest collections of portraits in the world?
Lining the walls of the Vasari Corridor, the hidden elevated walkway that links Palazzo Vecchio to the Pitti Palace, are paintings by, among others, Tintoretto, Giordano, Rubens, Rembrandt, Corot, Larsson and Chagall. Uffizi curators hope to make the longest single passageway of portraits in the world and they are well on their way with over 1600 self-portraits currently in the collection. Just another reason for you to visit Florence in Italy, a country where you can find 60% of the world’s art treasures and 40% of those treasures in the city of Florence.
Renaissance artists share gallery space with contemporary painters from all over the world and include some of the most famous masters of painting from the 16th to the 20th century. Far from the “flash-blinded” self-portraits taken on cell phones these selfies in total would certainly have broken Ellen DeGeneres’ retweet record of her star-studded selfie group shot at the 2014 Oscars.
It seems that the beautiful and famous daughter of Rome (Florence) likes bling. Not in the Kardashian style but more like that of a true Renaissance princess with a Medici father who felt that shopkeepers who inhabited the Old Bridge below his secret corridor were a motley crew with habits not befitting a Grand Duke. So in 1565 Cosimo de’ Medici ordered the closure of the smelly butchers’ shops then on the PonteVecchio (Old Bridge) and arranged for the shops to be taken over by several gold merchants. Now Cosimo’s private passageway across the Arno from his palazzo (Pitti Palace) to his offices (now the Uffizi Gallery) could be more pleasant and secure.
Today the Ponte Vecchio is a landmark of Florence and the jewelry shops that line the bridge are world famous. A Renaissance marketplace with hand crafted gold necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings, cameos, pearls and precious stones displayed in an evocative setting make a walk along the Ponte Vecchio across the Arno River a must do when in Florence where you can almost hear the footsteps of the Medici on the elevated walkway that separated them from the rest of the world.