The Vasari Corridor is a raised path that connects Palazzo Vecchio to Palazzo Pitti passing through the Uffizi Gallery and over the Ponte Vecchio, overlooking inside the Church of Santa Felicita until finishing next to the Buontalenti Grotto in the Boboli Garden.
The Vasari Corridor was created by the artist who gave it the name, Giorgio Vasari, in 1565 in just five months, by order of Cosimo I de' Medici, on the occasion of the wedding of his son Francesco I. With this path, the Medici could move freely and safely between their residence in Palazzo Pitti and the seat of government in Palazzo Vecchio, but the butchers' shops that occupied the Ponte Vecchio did not offer neither a show nor pleasant smells to the passage of the Grand Dukes, then were moved and replaced with the most elegant goldsmiths' shops, which still adorn the famous bridge.
To realize the corridor, were demolished some of the ancient tower-houses that were along the way, but the Mannelli family strongly opposed to this and then the path necessarily had to turn around their Tower.
Later, thanks to the will of Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici both the Uffizi Gallery and the Corridor lost their private function in favor of the public one.
Unfortunately during the Second World War, Florence suffered many damages and all the city bridges were destroyed by bombs, except the Ponte Vecchio; in fact Mussolini during the visit to Florence of Adolf Hitler (1938) did open other round windows along the path of the corridor and it seems that the Führer was so pleasantly impressed by the beauty of the view on the river, that decided to save the bridge, and so the corridor, from destruction.
The layout of today is still the one made in 1973 and includes numerous paintings of Italian schools of the XVI and XVII century and artists such as Domenichino, Guercino and Reni, Lorenzo Lippi, Giovanni Bilivert, Luca Giordano, Rosalba Carriera and Sebastiano Ricci, to name just a few. It also contains the largest European collection of self-portraits of artists, initiated by Cardinal Leopoldo de' Medici in the XVII century (Andrea del Sarto, Giorgio Vasari, Baccio Bandinelli, the Carracci, Guido Reni, Rubens, Bernini, Velasquez, Rembrandt, Corot and Delacroix, Giorgio De Chirico, Renato Guttuso, Marc Chagall, and many others).
Particularly moving, it's a trait that was heavily damaged by a Mafia bomb in 1993 that blew up some paintings; they were then reassembled and relocated in their place in the memory of that terrible event.