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Old Bridge

  • Ponte Vecchio, 50125 Firenze FI, Italia
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Built near a Roman crossing, the Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge crossing the Arno in Florence until 1218. The bridge, as we see it today, was built in 1345 after a violent flood had destroyed the previous one. During the Second World War the German troops destroyed all the bridges in Florence, except this one. However, they blocked access to the bridge by destroying the two medieval buildings on either side of it. On November 4, 1966 the Ponte Vecchio miraculously withstood the enormous wave of water from the Arno River, which broke its banks and caused the flooding 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 goldsmiths' stores that are currently located on either side 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, safely. At the time of the construction of the Corridor, on the Ponte Vecchio were gathered the butchers' stores, which probably with their activity disturbed the passage of the Medici, who in 1593 moved them, replacing them with the more decorative goldsmiths' stores. In 1901 a bust of Benvenuto Cellini, famous goldsmith of the sixteenth century, was inaugurated on the bridge on the occasion of the fourth centenary of his birth.

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