A medieval stone closed arch pedestrian bridge, the Ponte Vecchio (Italian: “Old Bridge”) over the Arno River is the oldest bridge in Florence. Noted for still having shops built along it, as was once common. Butchers initially occupied the shops; the present tenants are jewelers, art dealers and souvenir sellers.
Bridging Florence’s Arno River, the Ponte Vecchio has sheltered goldsmiths’ stores and workshops since the 16th century. (Image credit: Gary Yeowell/Getty Images, p. 181 100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See by National Geographic.)
Often teeming with tourists and the many musicians, portraitists and other entertainers create a constantly vibrant atmosphere. The Old Bridge is a world renowned monument that draws thousands of people to Florence every year. In a way, the history of the Ponte Vecchio marks the progress of Italy and Florence from the Middle Ages. The Ponte Vecchio is the only bridge in Florence that survived the Second World War unscathed.