Travel guide contributions


Judith DiMaio Architect FAIA RIBA

Madonna with the Infant Christ and Saint John the Baptist

Page 44, First Edition


The color palette and hallucinatory light …. are staggering. The composition …. seems transformed by a visionary light, … the icy pinks, golds and greens radiate. Fingers and limbs are elongated; drapery is faceted, edgy …. prismatic ….

Detail, fingers to foliage

Madonna with the Infant Christ and Saint John the Baptist, Domenico Beccafumi, Circa 1540, oil on panel, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Palazzo Barberini, Rome, public domain

Detail, feet to the roots of a tree and the trunk of the tree

Apollo and Daphne, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, executed between 1622 and 1625, Galleria Borghese, Villa Borghese, Rome

Apollo and Daphne

Page 63–64 (top). First Edition


The sculpture represents Daphne metamorphosing into a tree to protect herself from Apollo's advances of love. …. Daphne’s fingertips and hair are transforming into leaves …. her ankles and feet becoming the roots and trunk of a tree …. this sculpture makes one realize the capability of stone to become imbued with life …. marble becomes ‘flesh' ….

Page under construction

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Once the corridor/bridge traverses the Arno it 'disappears' into a medieval house …. when it does emerge it slithers around a medieval tower …. at a certain point it straightens out and adheres to the Church of Santa Felicita to become part of the church's facade …. from within the church the corridor presents itself as a viewing balcony into the interior of the church before it maneuvers through and between medieval houses paralleling the major street that leads up to the Pitti Palace ….

Note the rusticated corridor arriving and disappearing into the fabric of the grotto with a small gray door below which brings the linear journey passing through Florence to the end and into the Boboli Gardens of the Pitti Palace

Il Corridoio Vasariana—the Vasari Corridor

A line snaking through the city fabric of Florence:

A 16th century precursor to the Skywalk



The corridor of Vasari is a most unusual moment of architecture. It was constructed in 5 months for a Medici wedding in the year 1565. It was devised as a 'skyway' or elevated walkway to connect the Palazzo Vecchio via the Uffizi Galleries .... to the Boboli Gardens of the Pitti Palace across the Arno River. Elusive and almost disguised—unless one is aware of it—the ‘corridoio’ snakes its way around and negotiates Florence transforming itself as it comes into contact with the urban fabric …. the corridor traverses the Uffizi ….. descends as a stair and re-emerges to become an enclosed upper level walkway supported by an open arcadeenfilade below that parallels the Arno .… the covered walkway takes a sharp turn to the left …. and …. metamorphoses into the upper level of the Ponte Vecchio …. becoming now a bridge.

The corridor bangs into the fortified palace and emerges on the other side transformed into an elevated rustic, pebbly garden wall …. mysteriously it changes character again …. becomes a stair that leads to a very small, disguised door that opens into the Boboli Gardens adjacent to a fantastic, shell encrusted grotto, designed by Buontalenti

Think about it: the city 's urban fabric and a garden are joined by a 'line' that wiggles and changes its identity (from stair to portico to bridge to church facade …. a viewing balcony, wall again, stair again, to a small door …. emerging to the sounds of rushing water and a moss covered grotto.

An extraordinary passageway.

The architectural line of the corridor traversing the Ponte Vecchio; a disguised passageway, a line or a bridge .... photo: Inside Inferno

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Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens, Giusto Utens, ca. 1599, Petraia Villa Medici, public domain

Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Pitti

Two views of the Buontalenti Grotto, by Bernado Buontalenti, 1583-1587

photo: sebastiagiralt/Wikipedia

Detail to the far left is from a watercolor by an unknown Italian artist, ca. 1790, Cooper-Hewitt Museum, public domain