Vasari’s View of a Medici’s Life

Being a member of Medici family in Florence may not have meant you would inherit great genes (look up Lorenzo the Magnificent if you think I am exaggerating), but it did mean you had wealth and privilege like no other. For one day, I experienced the Medici privilege.

First, a little background on just how immense this family’s power and riches were. When one palace was not big enough for Elenora (wife of Cosimo the first), another was ordered for her. When this palace was built across the river, a corridor was built over the river to ensure she didn’t have to interact with the commoners on the bridge. The bridge was the business and housing place of the butchers of the time, whose scent Elenora hated. So, just like that, the butchers were booted out and the jewelers replaced them. And there you have it: the life of a Medici.

Of course the privilege came along with paranoia of being killed and a family history of gout, but those are the breaks for a life lived (figuratively and literally) above the commoners. In the Vasari corridor, you get to experience just that. The past life of Florence’s elite.

This magic begins while you wander the elegant halls and art-clad walls of the Uffizi Museum. Once you have experienced the Uffizi, it is time to become a true Medici. During a private tour of a space only opened to small groups, you will instantly see the difference of having a luxurious space built for only the best.

The corridor houses paintings from artists all over the world and from a vast time range. Between the pieces, there are small windows overlooking the streets and the Ponte Vecchio. The people below rarely realize they are being watched from above, and it is easy to imagine yourself as a Medici listening in on the voices and happenings of the commoners below.

So, if you need a break from the crowds of Florence and want to live as a Medici for a few hours, I have to recommend you tour the Uffizi Gallery and Vasari Corridor. The knowledgeable tour guides and exclusive entrance into the corridor will undoubtedly wrap you in the story of another day in age. Enjoy the view!

Caroline Womack