Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Iconic Ponte Vechio - Florence, Italy

The rustic Ponte Vechio, Florence, Italy

Florence is the main town of Tuscany region and it is in the center of Italy. The city of Florence is not too big and even without a map it is quiet easy to navigate the city. We walked from the main train station, Santa Maria Novella station to San Lorenzo Leather market and from there we walked to River Arno. 

The city has many high-end Italian designers stores, hotels  and interesting sites to visit. It is also a practical and perfect base to tour the region. If you walk along river Arno, you will see many people pointing their cameras towards an old bridge. At a glance the bridge does not look like a monument that deserves all the attentions but as I read through its history, Ponte Vechio has an interesting history to tell. A story of how it has been through a test of time and a series of destruction but today it is still there for us to appreciate it. 

It was believed that Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) was built during Roman times in Florence. Previously, the shops on the bridge was occupied by the butchers but today, the present tenants are jewelers, art and souvenirs sellers. The bridge was first built in 996 and reconstructed in 1117 after it was destroyed by a flood and again it was swept by flood in 1333. In 1345, the bridge was rebuilt again but during the World War II, the Germans destroyed Ponte Vechio when they retreat on August 4, 1944. 

This Florence's most famous old bridge is one of the most photographed landmark in the city and it is not surprising to see many people leaning on the walls along River Arno to get their best shots of this iconic bridge. The buildings along River Arno too are colorful and interesting to watch but due to heavy crowds around the area, you have to watch your belongings and wallets at all time.

The view along River Arno
People flooding the bridge
Souvenir shops on the bridge
The buildings at the other end of the bridge

A side view
On the bank of River Arno

The middle part of the bridge
Another view of Ponte Vechio
The private accommodation on the bridge 

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