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ponte vecchio

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Florence Old Bridge Ponte Vecchio (Old bridge) Ponte Vecchio the oldest of Florence's six bridges, is one of the city's best known images. Probably going back to Roman times with its stone pillars and wooden planks; it was built in stone but then newly destroyed by a flood in 1333. It was built again twelve years later, perhaps by Neri da Fioravante (or Taddeo Gaddi, according to Giorgio Vasari).

The oldest and most famous bridge across the Arno, the Ponte Vecchio we know today was built in 1345 by Taddeo Gaddi to replace an earlier version. The characteristic overhanging shops have lined the bridge since at least the 12th century. In the 16th century, it was home to butchers until Cosimo I moved into the Palazzo Pitti across the river. He couldn't stand the stench as he crossed the bridge from on high in the Corridoio Vasariano every day, so he evicted the meat cutters and moved in the classier gold- and silversmiths, tradesmen who occupy the bridge to this day.
The five arches became three and the main part was widened. The shops, housed under the porticos, first belonged to the Commune which then rented them out. But later on, towards the 15th century, they were sold to private owners and began to change through subsequent additions, raised parts and external terraces, extending towards the river and altering the original architecture in an anarchical, suggestive way.

In the 15th century these shops were greengrocers, butchers, fishmongers. But then perhaps because of their bad smell, Ferdinando I replaced them with goldsmiths, making the road more elegant and cleaner.

In 1565, Cosimo I de' Medici, Duke of Florence, had the famous Corridor built by Vasari on the upper side passing over the shops. There's a curious story about that. The Mannelli family who owned a medieval tower at the southern end, towards Pitti Palace, did not want to give the Duke right of passage. So the corridor had to be deviated, as we can still see today, around the tower.

The row of shops is interrupted in the center and the bridge opens over the Arno with two splendid, panoramic terraces. Here in 1900, they put up the bust of Benvenuto Cellini, that ingenious Florentine goldsmith and sculptor.

The oldest and most famous bridge across the Arno, the Ponte Vecchio we know today was built in 1345 by Taddeo Gaddi to replace an earlier version. The characteristic overhanging shops have lined the bridge since at least the 12th century. In the 16th century, it was home to butchers until Cosimo I moved into the Palazzo Pitti across the river. He couldn't stand the stench as he crossed the bridge from on high in the Corridorio Vasariano every day, so he evicted the meat cutters and moved in the classier gold- and silversmiths, tradesmen who occupy the bridge to this day.

A bust of the most famous Florentine goldsmith, the swashbuckling autobiographer and Perseus sculptor Benvenuto Cellini, stands off to the side of the bridge's center, in a small piazza overlooking the Arno. From this vantage point Mark Twain, spoiled by the mighty Mississippi, once wryly commented, "It is popular to admire the Arno. It is a great historical creek, with four feet in the channel and some scows floating about. It would be a very plausible river if they would pump some water into it. They call it a river, and they honestly think it is a river . . . They even help out the delusion by building bridges over it. I do not see why they are too good to wade."

The Ponte Vecchio's fame saved it in 1944 from the Nazis, who had orders to blow up all the bridges before retreating out of Florence as Allied forces advanced. They couldn't bring themselves to reduce this span to rubble -- so they blew up the ancient buildings on either end instead to block it off. The Arno flood of 1966 wasn't so discriminating, however, and severely damaged the shops. Apparently, a private night watchman saw the waters rising alarmingly and called many of the goldsmiths at home, who rushed to remove their valuable stock before it was washed away.

Ponte Vecchio, the oldest of Florence's six bridges, is one of the city's best known images. Probably going back to Roman times with its stone pillars and wooden planks; it was built in stone but then newly destroyed by a flood in 1333. It was built again twelve years later, perhaps by Neri da Fioravante (or Taddeo Gaddi, according to Giorgio Vasari).

The five arches became three and the main part was widened. The shops, housed under the porticos, first belonged to the Commune which then rented them out. But later on, towards the 15th century, they were sold to private owners and began to change through subsequent additions, raised parts and external terraces, extending towards the river and altering the original architecture in an anarchical, suggestive way.

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THE BEST WEBSITES ABOUT OLD BRIDGE AND FLORENCE TRAVEL GUIDES TUSCANY

Florence travel tips Reviews blogs travel tips to ponte vecchio florence online guide what to see in florence.

 

http://www.italyguides.it/us/florence/ponte_vecchio/old_bridge.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponte_Vecchio

http://www.tripadvisor.it/Hotel_Review-g187895-d563663-Re views-Florence_Old_Bridge_B_B-Florence_Tuscany.html

http://www.frommers.com/destinations/florence/A33272.html

http://www.visitflorence.com/florence-monuments/ponte-vecchio.html

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/italy/florence

http://www.visitflorence.com/

http://www.fodors.com/world/europe/italy/florence/

http://www.tripadvisor.in/Tourism-g187895-Florence_Tuscany-Vacations.html

 

 


 

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