city in Emilia-Romagna, Italy



Italian city, located in Tuscany



city in Tuscany, Central Italy


we will see

Ponte Vecchio

The oldest and most celebrated bridge over the Arno, and the only Florentine bridge to survive World War II. The design is distinctive: it's a three-arched bridge supporting a parade of shops supporting another bridge. It dates to 1345 (hence Ponte Vecchio, "old bridge"), with earlier bridges being swept away by floods, rebuilt and swept away again. At street level it's a pedestrianised cobbled arch. It's lined by shops, which were butchers until Renaissance times then - in an insight as dramatic as the discovery of perspective in painting - they realised that goldsmiths' shops paid higher rents and didn't stink; so from then to this day it's just been overpriced jewellery shops and market stalls. Above these is the higher bridge, the Vasari Corridor, a private walkway added in 1565 so that the Medici Dukes could move between Palazzo Vecchio (Town Hall) and Palazzo Pitti (their blingy residence) without mixing with common folk. On the south bank, the Corridor nowadays continues as a gallery of the Uffizi, and there is sometimes talk of extending this over the bridge, or otherwise making the space accessible. Nothing's come of this so far, so the common folk will have to continue admiring the scene from street level.