Ponte Vecchio, Florence

The Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) is perhaps Florence’s most famous landmark. And that’s really saying something considering the entire heart of this beautiful Tuscan city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Ponte Vecchio looking upstream

Ponte Vecchio looking upstream

Despite being the oldest bridge in Florence (and the only one not blown up by retreating German troops during World War II), the Ponte Vecchio is actually the fourth bridge to cross the River Arno at this point, the first of which was built by the Romans.

The Ponte Vecchio crosses the Arno in three long, wide spans

The Ponte Vecchio crosses the Arno in three long, wide spans

Constructed in 1345 after its previous incarnation was destroyed by a flood, the bridge is famous for the shops that line it. These buildings used to be much more uniform, but changes made by individual owners down through the centuries have lead to their current rambling character. By contrast, all sorts of services once occupied the bridge’s shops, including fishmongers and tanners. The resultant stink eventually resulted in a law being passed in 1593, decreeing only goldsmiths and jewelers were allowed on the bridge.

Shops and shoppers on the Ponte Vecchio

Shops and shoppers on the Ponte Vecchio

After Florence’s ruling Medici family built their new Palazzo Pitti on the far bank of the Arno in 1457, they eventually decided they needed a route to the famous Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Vecchio that eliminated them having to go anywhere near the common people they governed. The solution was the construction of the Corridoio Vasariano (Vasari Corridor) in 1565. The passageway is well over half a mile long and crosses the Ponte Vecchio above the shops on its eastern, upstream side.

Ponte Vecchio looking downstream, showing the Corridoio Vasariano running above the shops

Ponte Vecchio looking downstream, showing the Corridoio Vasariano running above the shops

The Ponte Vecchio is a perfect example of how functionality and beauty can be combined in Harmony.

On the Ponte Vecchio looking north towards the Old City, with the Corridoio Vasariano above the shops on the right, and the dome of the Duomo (Cathedral) in the distance

On the Ponte Vecchio looking north towards the Old City, with the Corridoio Vasariano above the shops on the right, and the dome of the Duomo (Cathedral) in the distance

This post was inspired by the photo theme of Bridges from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge and Harmony from Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack? It’s dedicated to my friend Amy, who’s lucky enough to be in Florence (working, to be fair) this week.

Florence from the top of the Duomo's Campanile: If you look carefully, you can see the line of the river running from left to right in the centre of the photo. The Ponte Vecchio is almost dead centre, with the Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Vecchio on the left (the tower is part of the Palazzo) and the Palazzo Pitti being the vast building on the far side of the river

Florence from the top of the Duomo’s Campanile:
If you look carefully, you can see the line of the river running from left to right in the centre of the photo. The Ponte Vecchio is almost dead centre, with the Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Vecchio on the left (the tower is part of the Palazzo) and the Palazzo Pitti being the vast building on the far side of the river

Sorry the images aren’t as crisp as usual, but they’re all scans of photos taken a few years back!

With a pal near the Uffizi Gallery

With a pal near the Uffizi Gallery

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About Jaspa

Star of my own award-winning adventure novels, Jaspa's Journey. Geocaching addict & F1 fan. Adventure Journeyer & blogger extraordinaire. Check out my website: www.jaspasjourney.com And don’t forget to download the books and see what the buzz is all about!
This entry was posted in Europe, History, Jaspa's Journey, Photography, Travel, UNESCO World Heritage Site and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Ponte Vecchio, Florence

  1. Pingback: Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge-Bridges – WoollyMuses

  2. Cee Neuner says:

    Amazing….it would be fun to live on a bridge. 😀 Thanks Jaspa for playing.

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