Spanning the River Arno in Florence is the medieval Ponte Vecchio Bridge, this is one of the few remaining Italian bridges from that era to still have shops built along it.
From jewellers to art dealers the Ponte Vecchio bridge is truly unique and well worth a visit when you’re on an Italian vacation in Florence. The Ponte Vecchio Bridge is an Italian treasure with a storied past. Here’s the Avventure Bellissime guide to the Ponte Vecchio, one of the most beloved icons of Florence.
The Ponte Vecchio Bridge
The Ponte Vecchio, or ‘Old Bridge’, connects the city centre with Oltarno, a southern district of Florence. These days the bridge is well known for the several goldsmiths’ shops that line both sides of the bridge, and the Vasari Corridor, a private aerial walkway that runs above the shops. This walkway was built to allow the rich and famous an easy route across the Arno, far above the hustle and bustle of the shops and markets of the Ponte Vecchio below.
The History of the Ponte Vecchio
In 1345, during reconstruction work on the Ponte Vecchio, 43 shops were added running the length of the bridge. These shops ensured that the bridge became a focal point for locals and visitors to Florence. By the 1400s, this bridge was humming with activity, with grocers, butchers, and fishmongers selling their wares.
But, as Florence became a centre for Renaissance art and culture, the Ponte Vecchio Bridge underwent another transformation. Grand Duke Ferdinand I evicted the merchants working on the bridge in an attempt to make Ponte Vecchio cleaner and grander. He replaced the butchers and fishmongers with goldsmiths and silversmiths and he encouraged a higher class of shoppers to frequent the bridge. This change led to the Ponte Vecchio becoming the bridge we know and love today - a place brimming with beautiful artwork, gold and silver, and culture.
Romance on the Ponte Vecchio
Ponte Vecchio isn’t only renowned for its shops and for its medieval architecture. This storied Italian bridge is also well-known for its romance. At the statue of Benvenuto Cellini, a beautiful fountain built in 1900, couples declare their ‘eternal love’ for each other by clipping a padlock to the fence around the fountain. Be warned though: this tradition can result in a fine from the local authorities. It seems that true love does come at a cost!
The Ponte Vecchio is an Italian landmark that dates all the way back to the Roman times. It graces the centre of Florence and it’s a truly beautiful piece of Renaissance architecture. For anyone on an Italian vacation in the city, the Ponte Vecchio Bridge really can’t be missed!
Why not book a tour of Florence and see the city for yourself? Or, for any other queries, get in touch with Avventure Bellissime and we’ll be happy to help you find the very best Italian vacation package for you.