5 things to know about Ponte Vecchio – Florence

Have you ever been in Florence? In this post you’ll find 5 things to know about Ponte Vecchio!
Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) is a medieval bridge spanning the river Arno in Florence. It is one of the few remaining bridges with houses built upon, It’s the most beautiful bridge of Florence and one of the most photographed in the world. Ponte Vecchio  is often crowded of tourists, musicians, portraitists and other entertainers that create a constantly vibrant atmosphere. The bridge is at its most beautiful at dusk, especially when seen from the Ponte Santa Trinità.

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Architecture of Ponte Vecchio 
Ponte Vecchio is a very unique piece of architecture, because its structure is the continuation of the road. It consists of three segmental arches and on the sides of the bridge there are shops of artisans 
The Vasari corridor, about one kilometer long,  connects the Uffizi with the Pitti Palace . It was built by Giorgio Vasari for Cosimo De Medici and it passes directly over the shops of Ponte Vecchio, so that the Medici family could not suffer the smell coming from there.
It seems that Hitler has given orders to save the Ponte Vecchio during the bombings of World War II. Sometimes the beauty illuminates even the tyrants

 

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 Ponte Vecchio is the oldest bridge in Florence. during the Roman times it existed another bridge before this one. Its current appearance dates back to 1345 when it was built to replace a bridge which was destroyed by a flood.  Houses were built on the bridge, a common practice in large European cities during the Middle Ages.

 The Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge in Florence that survived the Second World War unscathed.

 

 

 

download (1) shopsThe shops

The houses on the bridge were initially used as workshops and some shopkeepers such as butchers, tanners and greengrocer  had their business there . In 1593 duke Ferdinand I decided to replace them with goldsmiths because the shops produced too much garbage and caused a foul stench. So goldsmiths and artisans, were considered  best suited to the beauty of the place. Since then gold has become the protagonist of Ponte Vecchio,
Today the houses are used as shops selling a wide assortment of jewelry, ranging from affordable modern jewels to pricey antiques.

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Mannelli Tower
At the south end of the bridge, on the corner with  Via dei Bardi, the Vasari Corridor turns strangely around a tower:  Mannelli tower which is the only survivor of the four corners that were defending the bridge.
Family Mannelli was the only one who opposed the passage of the corridor through their property, as was done previously for other buildings, forcing Vasari to design this section with cantilevered shelves around the tower.
Legend tells that then the family Mannelli would pay hard over the years to follow this opposition to the wishes of Cosimo I De Medici.

 

Benvenuto Cellini’s Bust

In 1900, to honour and remember  the fourth century of the birth of the great Florentine sculptor and master goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini, the  goldsmiths of the bridge commissioned the most renowned Florentine sculptor of the time, Raffaello Romanelli,  to create a bronze bust of Cellini to stand at the top of the  fountain in the middle of the Eastern side of the bridge, where it stands to this day.


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picture courtesy aviewoncities.com – hoteldegliorafi.it – visitare-firenze.it – it.wikipedia.org – viaggi.it

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