Built near a Roman crossing, the Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge that crossed the Arno in Florence until 1218. The bridge, as seen today, was built in 1345 after the collapse of the previous one due to a violent flood.
During the Second World War, the German troops destroyed all the bridges in Florence except for this one. However, they blocked the access to the bridge by destroying the two medieval buildings on its sides. On November 4, 1966, the Ponte Vecchio miraculously endured the huge wave of water from the Arno in flood, which broke its banks causing the flood of Florence.
Above Ponte Vecchio you can see a part of the beautiful Vasari Corridor. This corridor, built in 1565 by Giorgio Vasari, passes just above the goldsmith shops currently located on the sides of the bridge. Commissioned by the Medici, it allowed them to move from Palazzo Vecchio to Palazzo Pitti without having to cross the streets of Florence, in complete safety. At the time of construction of the Corridor, various butcher shops were gathered on the Ponte Vecchio, which probably disturbed the passage of the Medici, who in 1593 replaced them with the more “decent” goldsmith shops.
In 1901, a bust of Benvenuto Cellini, a famous 16th century goldsmith, was inaugurated on the bridge on the occasion of the fourth centenary of his birth.
Those who visit Florence cannot miss an evening walk on Ponte Vecchio. In fact, at night, when the wooden doors of the shops close, making them seem almost like chests, the atmosphere on the bridge becomes even more suggestive and romantic. A must see!