Whoever has been to Florence has surely seen it: the Ponte Vecchio. The literal translation of this famous medieval bridge is, fittingly enough, “old bridge.” On the bridge, you will mainly find jewelers and a few other shops that are very popular with tourists. Are you planning a trip to Florence soon and curious to learn more about the Ponte Vecchio? We’ve gathered the ten most interesting facts for you.

10. The current bridge is not the original structure

The Ponte Vecchio, or the old bridge, was officially opened in 1345. However, the bridge we see today is not the original. As early as 996, the first version was constructed by the Romans using a combination of stone and wood. When it later turned out that this construction was not as sturdy as necessary, the bridge was completely renovated and rebuilt into a more elegant and robust version.

9. The bridge was destroyed by floods twice

After the initial construction, the bridge has endured a lot over the centuries. In 1117, the entire bridge was swept away during high water, and in 1333, this happened again. A few years later, in 1345, reconstruction began, this time with a sturdier construction. This is the structure that still stands today and attracts numerous tourists every year.

8. Officially built as a defense work

In the Middle Ages, an attack from another people was not uncommon. Cities were often surrounded by a wall to repel the enemy. Florence was also protected by such a city wall. However, the enemy did not only come by land; the river also needed to be protected. The Ponte Vecchio played a significant role in this.

7. The shop rents contribute to the costs

Since the Ponte Vecchio requires a substantial amount of money for maintenance, the government sought a solution to finance it. Eventually, the idea came up to house shops on the bridge, which could help cover part of the costs with their rent. Initially, butchers mainly set up shop on the bridge, but it soon became clear that this was not the smartest choice due to the mess they produced. For this reason, they were quickly replaced by jewelers and gemstone traders.

6. The only bridge that survived the war

During World War II, Florence was heavily bombed in 1944 during battles between the Nazis and the Allies. Every bridge in the city was bombed and destroyed, except for the Ponte Vecchio. Thanks to Gerhard Wolf, a German diplomat who served as consul in Florence during World War II, this bridge was spared from destruction.

5. The best view is from a boat

When you plan to travel to Florence, it’s highly recommended to book a trip with one of the many small boats on the Arno River. The view from the water is much more beautiful and impressive than from the shore. Perfect for taking that perfect Instagram picture.

4. Corridoio Vasariano

When Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, moved to the palace on the south side of the river, he suddenly realized that he would have to walk through the crowds to get to the other side. De’ Medici was not liked by everyone, and he feared that enemies and opponents might harm him. To protect himself, he had a one-kilometer-long corridor built so he could move safely without having to mingle with the people. This Corridoio Vasariano is the top floor of the Ponte Vecchio.

3. The Mannelli tower

Originally, there were four towers on the Ponte Vecchio. However, during the construction of the aforementioned Vasari corridor, all towers were demolished except one: the tower of the Mannelli family.

2. Mussolini’s windows

Originally, the windows of the Ponte Vecchio were small and narrow. This changed in 1939 when Adolf Hitler visited the city and thus the famous bridge. To get a better view, Mussolini had the small windows replaced with larger ones.

1. Love locks

The bronze statue on the bridge was made by the goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini. Couples from all over the world come here specifically to attach a padlock, often inscribed with their initials, to the fence of the statue. They then throw away the key, and this custom is believed to seal their love and make it last forever.

Radiating with a chic, girly charm, Chloe brings a fresh and vibrant perspective to the latest trends in the beauty world and the glitz of the cinema. Her passion for makeup artistry and film analysis shines through in her engaging and informative articles. With a keen eye for aesthetic and storytelling, Chloe offers her readers insider tips, thoughtful reviews, and a touch of glamour in every piece.

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