Out of all of Florence’s fabulous attractions, Ponte Vecchio is certainly one of the greatest.

Known as the everlasting symbol of Florence, the Ponte Vecchio, also known as the Old Bridge, is a historic structure in the region.

The History of Ponte Vecchio

The very first Ponte Vecchio bridge was built in 966, but after the structure was swept away by a flood in 1333, the bridge was reconstructed in 1345. The bridge aimed to use it as a system of defence, being the only bridge that went over the Arno River in World War II that the fleeing Germans did not destroy. In the 13th century, to raise the money spent on building the bridge, the region rented out shop spaces for the community on the bridge. The first bridge also was known to have shops attached, but due to them being made of wood, they were known to catch on fire. This time, the shops were built in stone, with 46 shops scattered about the bridge. The artistic flare and the stunning windows of the bridge were introduced during this time, turning the bridge into not just a way of transport, but an attraction. The artistic flare and the stunning windows of the bridge were introduced during this time, turning the bridge into not just a bridge of transport, but an attraction in itself. The shops first introduced at this time varied, with butchers, fishmongers and tanners all were popular. However, this caused quite a disgusting stench to the bridge, and in 1593, the bridge’s shops were only restricted to goldsmiths and jewellers, which has remained a rule to this very day.

By the 17th century, the shops had become so popular, they added further structures on top or behind the original buildings, supporting them by brackets, resulting in the bridge’s distinct look.

How to see Ponte Vecchio

There are many ways to enjoy the unique style of Ponte Vecchio. The most obvious is strolling along the bridge and visiting the shops within. Simply travelling on this historic bridge is worth the visit, with its long and fascinating history dating back hundreds of years. Shops within also have a long history with some, including Benvenuto Cellini, have been there for decades. Being a 16th-century goldsmith that has wooden shutters of the shops to create a truly unique look. Simply looking out into the river is stunning in itself, with the Ponte Vecchio being one of the most romantic spots in Florence. You can even admire it from afar, in a boat nearby or a neighbouring building, the bridge is truly stunning at every angle.

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