A Masterstroke In Florence Suspended Over The Arno River

ponte vechio
Original photo by Yeowatzup

by Dan Ganz

Ponte Vecchio is probably the most worldwide celebrated bridge in Florence: the modern architectural structure we can see today consisting of three stone arches, and followed in 1565 to a old wooden bridge built in the ancient Roman times. The first wooden building dates back to 972 and was smashed by a flood in Florence in 1117. The most beautiful architectural part is surely an opening midway of the bridge that offers a stunning view of the river Arno and its shoreline (The shore it’s pretty visible, because there’s not a lot of water in the river!).

The Bridge

Ponte Vecchio is Europe's oldest wholly-stone segmental arch bridge. There are three arches, the main arch of 30 meters, and the side ones of 27. The Medici family, in 1953, prohibited butchers from selling in Ponte Vecchio, thus enforcing the bridge dignity; the butchers were rapidly replaced by gold merchants.

The Shops and the Vasarian Corridor

Today, the bridge stages numerous jewellery shops trading in antiquities and gold and silver jewellery.

Above the shops runs the Vasary Corridor, a long passage built in 1565 on the order of Cosimo I De' Medici Duke of Florence, which crosses the suspension bridge and links the Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Pitti.

Ponte Vecchio, during World War II, was the only Bridge in Florence not destroyed by the Nazis during their retreat in August 1944,  but the Arno flood, in 1966, severely damaged the bridge and the jewellery shops.

Ponte Vecchio is really the most evocative route you can take in Florence's historical centre, probably one of the most romantic bridges in the entire world.

A legend says that if you lock a padlock and then throw the key into the water from the bridge, you will achieve immortal love! I don’t know if it’s true, but it’s really impressive…

About the Author: You can easily attain Ponte Vecchio in only 5 minutes from this 3 star Florence hotel in the heart of the historical centre of Florence.