Florence’s picturesque Ponte Vecchio
I had a wonderful day visiting Florence when my older son was back home for the Christmas holidays.
With the high speed train, it’s only a short journey from Rome, and we lucked out with a January day of bright blue skies and remarkably warm sun.
We had a great day walking for miles and miles (and many miles more) around Tuscany’s capital. One of the places we passed many times during the day and enjoyed observing in the day’s changing light was the city’s most famous bridge: Ponte Vecchio.
The Ponte Vecchio spans the River Arno, and is one of Florence’s most recognizable monuments.
Built in 1345, the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) is Florence’s oldest surviving bridge.
This bridge was built on what were once a series of Ancient Roman bridges to span the Arno River. It was designed by Taddeo Gaddi, a pupil of Giotto’s.
Originally, this structure housed blacksmiths, butchers and tanners. the tanners, specifically, considered the Arno a convenient dumping area for their waste. The filth and stench were well documented, and eventually the businesses were forced to move in 1593, by order of Duke Ferdinando I. The shops were quickly replaced by kjewelers and goldsmiths, who were able to pay higher rents.
Gold shops and jewelers still line the elegant bridge today.
An upper foor was later constructed. Called the Corridoio Vasariano, it was used exclusively by the Medici family to cross over the bridge in privacy to pass from one to another of their residences without having to mix with the hoi palloi.
During WWII, the Ponte Vecchio was Floronce’s only undamaged bridge.
You’ll definiteley want to pass over the bridge and enjoy spectacular views on this historical structure spanning the Arbo during your visit to beautiful Florence.
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