Ponte Vecchio


The Ponte Vecchio is one of the most famous monuments in Florence and is certainly one of its major attractions. Vecchio means “old” in Italian and the name comes from the fact that the bridge is built in the narrowest point of the Arno river, where there has always been a bridge since the Etruscan times. The current bridge was built in 1345, after the previous one was swept away by the terrible flood of 1333. This is also the only bridge that survived the Second World War. On the night between the 3rd and 4th August 1944 the Nazis blew up all the bridges in the city, saving only the Ponte Vecchio.

On the Ponte Vecchio today we can admire the famous and dazzling shop windows of Florentine jewelers and goldsmiths, whose shops have been there since 1593 when Ferdinand I ordered the goldsmiths to replace the beccai (the ancient butchers) established on the bridge since 1442. A legend narrates that Cosimo I while walking over the bridge exclaimed: pecunia non olet "money does not smell" thus suggesting the use of metallic materials for the products sold on the bridge.

Halfway across the bridge there is the bronze bust of Benvenuto Cellini, a Florentine goldsmith and sculptor of the sixteenth century, inventor of the famous technique of chiseled gold, also known as "Florentine gold".

Above the shops of Ponte Vecchio there is the Vasari Corridor, a famous passage built by Giorgio Vasari in 1565 at the behest of Cosimo I. The corridor was built to allow the future Grand Duke to move undisturbed and safely between the center of the political and administrative power, in Palazzo Vecchio, and his private residence in the Oltrarno area, the Pitti Palace.

Where is it?

Ponte Vecchio, 50122 Firenze FI

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