Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Ponte Vecchio {and the Vasari Corridor}


This is a bridge in Italy most people know, I had always assumed it was flanked by several similar but inferior bridges and that this is how all the old bridges used to be.
Wrong!
 In fact the only reason this bridge is like this is because the family that used to run this town {The Medicis} wanted to get from their palace to the office without going down on the mucky street with the dirty common people.  So they had a famous architect build the Vasari Corridor on top of the shops that were already there.



Panorama: The Ponte Vecchio



Panorama: The Old Bridge. 
Here you can really see where they built on top of the old shops. 




Italian Vignette: The Buildings on the other side of the Arno



I always associated the name “Welcome” with a kind of innate hillbilliness, but here’s a statue of an obviously important old italian guy called “Benvenuto Cellini”. So I guess you never can tell.


We jump inside the Uffizi for the only kind of pictures they allow you to take; pictures of things out the window.


This is one of my favourite pictures of the bridge, mostly because of how the sky turned out. 
You can see here how the corridor zig–zags to make it to the Uffizi. {The old offices, now a really great museum.}


These poor guys live next to one of the busiest tourist attractions in florence.


Detail: Green Shutters


Detail: In case you forget which bridge is the one with all the buildings on.


Italian Vignette: These arches hold up the zig–zaggy part of the Vasari Corridor.


Landscape: The whole bridge, from another bridge.


Detail: Gold and silver.
Some Medici or other was walking along the corridor one day and he opened the windows so he could eavesdrop. 
Well, the whole bridge used to be filled with Butchers.
You could only imagine the smell. 
So he forced them all out and declared only jewelers could sell their wares there. 


Detail: “Stop Writing on the god d*mn walls!” —A Sign In English.


Wide shot of the door, the wall, the sign telling americans to stop writing on the walls, and a selection of the places americans have disregarded this sign.


The Ponte Santa Trinita.
Built in the middle ages sometime, this bridge and all the bridges except the Ponte Vecchio were destroyed by the German Nazis at the end of WWII when they were retreating through here. {D*mn jerks.} 
When everything cooled off the Italians dragged the river and rebuilt it, exactly as it was, from the pieces they could find.


And now we’re inside the Vasari Corridor.
The reason the Ponte Vecchio survived, {well, the story they give you} is that some german guy had it rigged to blow but he just couldn’t bring himself to do it because of the beauty and history and whatever. 
The real reason is that the Corridor was absolutely packed with christian art.


Detail: Number 14, PONTEVECCHIO 14!


It’s actually really nice in the corridor, the ceilings go up like ten feet and it’s very bright. 
But they don’t let you take pictures of the inside. Because of all the art.
So all you get is pictures out the windows.


Landscape: Bridges and Blue.


Every space on the walls is covered with portraits, self portraits, of renaissance artists. 
Mostly {Well, for me, 100%} people you’ve never heard of, but our tour guide had some neat stories about the ones she was pointing out.


Landscape: All the windows used to be those tiny portholes, but Hitler had some nice big picture windows put in.
For the record: I will gladly take advantage of your windows, but I still d*mn your name, genocidist.



Detail: Marble Radar Dish?


Detail: A view of ol’ Welcome Cellini most people don’t get.


Detail: The buildings here really are a jumble sometimes.



Detail: E. Fantoni


Detail: Two Bridges.


Porthole: Orange Ahoy!


Porthole: Sunset.


Porthole: They don’t seem to clean their terra cotta roofs here.


Porthole: I do believe that guy has a statue on his roof.


Finally: The Medicis had the corridor go through the back of a church, so they could get their religion in with going through the commoners door.
The corridor went right to where the entrance to the Medicis private box was, before they glassed it over so religious types couldn’t just wander in, they had to take an artificially rarified tour.

Google+