Ponte Vecchio – Where History Hasn’t Left
When visiting Tuscany, you’re sure to have a wide range of options for things to see and do. From the art and culture, to the many historic locations, there’s something for everyone; not to mention the delicious traditional food and wines that anyone can enjoy during their stay.
If you plan to spend some time in the city of Florence, you may want to consider taking a look at Ponte Vecchio – a landmark that’s often considered to be one of the most iconic historic sites in this part of Tuscany.
What is the Ponte Vecchio?
Florence may be home to a number of great attractions, but many would agree that none compare to the picturesque “old bridge” that is the Ponte Vecchio. Not only is it the Arno river’s oldest crossing, but it has stood in the same position since 1345, which is when it was rebuilt after being destroyed by recurring floods.
Today, the shops along the bridge occupy mostly souvenir sellers, art dealers and jewellers – so if you’re looking to get a great keepsake to remember your time in Tuscany, you may find something that’s just perfect for you.
The structure that’s so iconic and well known today (the three-arch construct with buildings standing along the sides), has gone through quite a bit of work and several changes over the years, so before you decide to visit, be sure to learn a little more about the bridge’s history.
When was the structure first built?
You may know that the structure was rebuilt in 1345, but do you know when it was first constructed?
Unfortunately, nobody does – but we do know that it dates back a very long time. There’s no evidence of when construction of the bridge first began, but it was first mentioned in a document in 996, during Roman times. The Roman piers we’re built of stone and the superstructure of wood.
How many times was it rebuilt and repaired?
The famous bridge didn’t last for too long before being destroyed by a flood in 1117. And, even though it was rebuilt with stone the second time around, the Ponte Vecchio didn’t survive another flood in 1333.
It was rebuilt in 1345, this time with three segmental arches – and while this was credited to Taddeo Gaddi, modern historians believe that Neri di Fioravanti may also have had a hand in the reconstruction.
It wasn’t always a great shopping destination
In 1442, the city’s authorities obliged butchers to move their stores to the bridge to dispose their waste directly into the water and to keep them away from the city centre. In 1593, Ferdinand I ordered that they move location, and were replaced by goldsmiths and jewellers instead. Nowadays, there aren’t currently any restrictions in place.