This medieval bridge still survives as one of the most attractive landmarks in Florence which is visited by tourists and locals all year round. Ponte Vecchio with its cluster of shops lining the bridge pathway is also the oldest bridge in the city that survived many wars and natural calamities. This segmented arch bridge on the Arno River is hailed as part of the grand heritage of the city. Ponte Vecchio in Italian means old bridge referring to the time when this used to be the only lifeline between two sides of Arno River that passes through Florence.
Ponte Vecchio is the oldest bridge in town and has truly stood the test of many natural calamities and historical incidences. The bridge is believed to be built by the Romans, but the first reference of this bridge was cited in the 10th century. Documents at this time were destroyed by a flood. Several times the bridge has been destroyed and reconstructed until on 1345 the bridge was given its present shape with segmented arches. Until the 15th century most of the shops lining the Bridge belonged to butchers and fishmongers which were replaced by goldsmiths following the command of the Duke of Florence.
What To See
Ponte Vecchio connects the two parts of central Florence on either sides of the Arno River. With its clusters of elegant terraced shops on both sides and segmented arches on the river it looks magnificently like a piece of history on the river landscape. With pedestrians, musicians and portraitists wondering around the cobble stoned bridge is a popular place for the tourists on their Florence holidays. At dusk from a distance the bridge looks magnificent, especially if seen from Ponte Santa Trinita.