Best known of all of Florence's treasures, this glorious bridge was the only one of six spared by the retreating Germans on ... More
Best known of all of Florence's treasures, this glorious bridge was the only one of six spared by the retreating Germans on August 4, 1944. Over the centuries flooding unfortunately took its toll; few traces of the 10th-century bridge remain. Today's bridge, built in 1345, was filled with butcher's shops which would routinely discard the carcasses into the Arno causing quite a stench. Grand Duke Fernandino I issued an edict to replace the butchers with goldsmiths to eradicate the smell and gentrify royalty's route to Palazzo Pitti, reached via the Vasari Corridor that passes over the bridge. The tradition of padlocking things to the statue of Benvenuto Cellini, often practiced by lovers who padlock a lock to the gate of the statue and toss the key into the river, faces a fine of EUR 50!
The atmosphere was relaxed no matter how busy the streets around the Ponte Vecchio. We wandered and people watched - stopping to watch the artists at work with such a differing array of styles. We did succumb to buying one or two paintings which we now have adorning our livingroom walls. We found we had walked for miles around the centre of Florence and saw the bridges from all angles. We went up to the Michael Angelo statue and watched the sunset over the Ponte Vecchio - well worth doing. The atmosphere with the crowds of holiday makers up there - all waiting to watch the red sun descend and throw shadows of the bridges down the water, was peacefull and not to be missed. We did it twice in the time we were there.
At the centre of the bridge there was usually a musician busking. I could have spent hours looking at the jewellers shops - looking that is - they were not cheap. We would quite happily go back and stay in the same hotel next to the bridge.
As an art historian, this city is full of treasures of centuries old craftsmen. The Ponte Vecchio has of course changed, but one is still standing in the midst of commerce and can only imagine people of that time crossing this bridge to transact business.
My sister yvonne snijders is now living in Italy. She's half Filpino like me.. Since my sister left the philippines,i never stop from exploring how florence,Italy like.. My father who passed away 2 years ago,was born there.. I know my sister is so excited for this is her first time to travel abroad,and take note,Florence,Italy..
The Ponte Vecchio is unlike any other bridge that you will see. The ancient shops are very interesting. One of the most remarkable things about the tiny shops is how they shut up at night.
The downside is how very busy the bridge gets. It is hard to walk around much less look at the shops wares.
My first trip to Italy was on a foreign study program ran by Dartmouth College. I was in Florence and I thought buying some gold jewelry on the Ponte Vecchio was a no-brainer. The bracelet I bought my mom and girlfriend were a little expensive but looked great. A little after 5 months, the bracelets began stretching and the gold threads began coming apart.
Thankfully, about 9 months later, I had to go to Italy again for my Thesis research. I decided to take the bracelets back to the stores for warranty repairs. The manager was absolutely obnoxious, first he claims that the bracelets had a 3 months warranty, then he claimed that the golden threads on the bracelet broke because of heavy use, then I demanded to talk to a more senior manager (out of the 14 jewelry stores on the bridge, 12 are owned by the same company). The senior manager was even worth, he practically called me an idiot for thinking that a bracelet shouldn't break in such a short time. He kept on saying how if his car broke down after 6 months he wouldn't go to the dealership for a refund so why should I.
Maybe they treated me like trash is because I am so young (22), and the bracelets combined to have cost less than 500 euros. Maybe towards their more senior and wealthy customers they would treat differently. But the Jewelry on the bridge is overpriced and they sell all the same stuff. Go off the bridge and the stores there sell the exact same stuff and it's much cheaper, this way you don't have to pay the "bridge fee". After my horrendous experience on the bridge, I've always told my friends to never go there.
Oh it is a wonderful bridge but it is more.It is filled with beautiful little shops jewlery shops with all sorts of lovely jewlery something for everyone.During on of the terrible floods in the 60's so much of the brige shops got flooded and everyonce in a while jewlery still surfaces.You can walk along and dream as you look at all the stuff,in the middle of the bridge is a place to rest and stop and take pictures of the cool architecture.
We spent a week in Tuscan countryside in September 05 and loved it. We travelled into Florence to visit the Tourist Attractions on 2 days. Towards the end our first day into Florence we arrived back to the bridge after strolling around soaking up the atmosphere and eating ice-cream. We stood on the bridge for sometime beside the statue with the locks just watching the world go by when I got the biggest suprise of my life as my boyfriend asked me to marry him- and I accepted. My engagement ring was bought in beautiful jewellers called Ugo Piccini which is situated just off of the bridge. We are getting married later this year.
So while my opinion of the bridge may be a little biased I think it is a must see when wondering around the beautiful city of Florence. It may even change your life!!!
This old bridge is a "must to see" - it has an atmosphere of real history still living in our days. The shops are mostly high-end jewelry, so they are expansive, but the place itself is charming. I liked to walk there in twilights, when the shops are already closed (not that crowded) and the lanterns are alight. The reflections of lights in Arno add a lot to the charm. The bridge is close to other interesting places, so you will be nearby anyway.
I am in love with Florence. I was there in Mid-July, it was quite hot but still wonderful. The museums are to die for and the food was delicious. I hope to go back next year and do a lot of shopping, oh, take lots of money, nothing is cheap.
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