Who doesn’t enjoy shopping, sightseeing and visiting Italy's most famous attractions while on vacation? Who wouldn’t want to do all three of these things at once! Visiting Ponte Vecchio Florence gives tourists the opportunity to explore history, take in spectacular views of the Arno river and satisfy their shopping desires all at the same time.
Since ancient Roman times, many different bridges have spanned the Arno river however none have survived for as long as the Ponte Vecchio. It is a magnificent, medieval stone bridge, built in 1345 that crosses the river at its narrowest point which is 98 feet from shore to shore.
The Ponte Vecchio Florence, was initially created out of practicality to connect one side of the city with the other however over the years became the perfect place for merchants to sell their goods. Shops were built across the top of the bridge, lining either side and originally many different butchers set up business there. In 1595, however, a new law was made in an attempt to increase the prestige of the bridge, prohibiting butcher shops from taking up residency there and that law still sets precedence today.
In 1665, the Vasari Corridor was constructed on top of the bridge. This corridor provided a direct and unobstructed route from the Florence’s town hall (called the Palazzo Vecchio), located on one side of the Arno river, to the Palazzo Pitti, a magnificent, sprawling palace located on the other side.
When visiting the Ponte Vecchio Florence today, you will be able to browse through numerous unique tourist shops, offering the perfect souvenirs to bring home with you. It is also well known for its long list of jewelry stores, offering hand crafted Florentine jewelry and goldsmith shops.
One of the best ways to explore the Ponte Vecchio and get an in depth description of its unique history is to partake in a walking tour of Florence. Numerous different companies offer walking tours of different durations that allow time for exploring and shopping on the bridge and your guide can teach you of all the rich history and knowledge that this famous bridge has to offer.
Over the years the Ponte Vecchio’s beauty has astounded many and it has been the topic of songs and artwork throughout history. It is also known to be the only bridge in Florence that wasn’t destroyed by German troops during the second World War, and it was said to be on Hitler’s orders that it was preserved. There is no better way to spend an afternoon in Florence, than visiting the beautiful and unique Ponte Vecchio bridge.
Arriving at the Ponte Vecchio Florence is an easy task from anywhere in the Tuscan capital. This city is a relatively small and most destinations can easily be reached on foot. If you are arriving to Florence by train, the main train station here is the Santa Maria Novella which is located close to the city centre. The Ponte Vecchio bridge is a short twenty minute stroll from the station.