Ponte Vecchio, built near a crossing of the Roman era, until 1218 was the only bridge in Florence which crossed the River Arno. Ponte Vecchio, as you see it today, was built in 1345 after a violent flood had destroyed the previous bridge. During World War II the German troops destroyed all Florence’s bridges, except Ponte Vecchio. However, they blocked the access to the bridge, destroying the two medieval buildings on either sides. On November 4, 1966, the Ponte Vecchio miraculously endured the huge wave of water of the River Arno, which broke its banks causing the unfortunately known flood of Florence.
Over the 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 shops which are currently on the sides of the bridge. The Corridor was commissioned by the Medici, and allowed them to move safely from the Palazzo Vecchio to the Palazzo Pitti, without having to go through the streets of the city. At the time of the Corridor construction, the Ponte Vecchio had gathered all the butchers shops, who probably disturbed the passage of the Medici with their activities. In fact the Medici, in 1593 made them move, replacing their workshops with the more "decent" goldsmith shops. In 1901 in the 4th Centenary of his birth, on the bridge was inaugurated a bust of Benvenuto Cellini, the famous goldsmith of the XVI Century.
Whoever visits Florence can not miss also an evening stroll on the Ponte Vecchio. At night, in fact, when all the wooden doors of the jewelers are closed, the atmosphere on the bridge becomes even more romantic and can not really be missed.
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