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Monuments & Bridges

Florence's bridges over the Arno river are some of the most famous and beautiful in all of the world and an integral part of the city - make sure you take the time to cross them on foot. The Ponte Vecchio, lined with gold and jewelry shops, is almost always overcrowded but can't be missed, while the Ponte Santa Trìnita is a great place to view the other bridges or take a break while having a gelato from the nearby Gelateria Santa Trìnita.

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Below are some of our most recent entries posted in the Monuments & Bridges category - use the links at the end of the page to access all the articles individually.

Ponte Amerigo Vespucci

The Ponte (bridge) Amerigo Vespucci is a contemporary bridge over the Arno River named after the famous Florentine explorer Amerigo Vespucci. The Vespucci family was active in this area of Florence, and Vespucci is buried in the nearby church of Ognissanti (All Saints).

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Continue reading Ponte Amerigo Vespucci.

Ponte Vecchio

The Ponte Vecchio, literally "the old bridge," is just that - the oldest bridge of Florence, a masterpiece of medieval architecture and probably one of the most recognized and photographed bridges in the world. A bridge on this site was first mentioned in 996 although there was probably one here since Roman times, and there are records of bridges in this location collapsing in 1117 and 1333. The current structure was erected in 1345 and has been attributed variously to Neri di Fioravante or, if Vasari is to be believed, to Taddeo Gaddi.

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The Ponte Vecchio is the only bridge in Florence to have survived WWII intact. While all the others were destroyed by the retreating German army in 1944, the Ponte Vecchio was preserved in view of its historical significance with most of the credit going to the German consul of occupied Florence, Gerhard Wolf (instead, the buildings at either end were purposefully bombed by the Germans in order to impede Allied troops from crossing the Arno). There is a plaque honoring Wolf in the arcaded side of the center of the bridge:

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Continue reading Ponte Vecchio.

Ponte alla Carraia

The Ponte alla Carraia is a five-arched stone bridge spanning the Arno and linking the Oltrarno to the rest of the city. To the west is a weir, the Pescaia di Santa Rosa, and the Ponte Amerigo Vespucci, and to the east is the Ponte Santa Trìnita. The piazzas on either bank are the Piazza Nazario Sauro (south - also the location of the famous Florentine gelateria La Carraia) and the Piazza Carlo Goldoni (north).

The first mention of the bridge (then built in wood) dates from 1218. Destroyed by a flood in 1274, it was soon reconstructed, but fell down again in 1304 under the weight of a crowd who had met to watch a spectacle. It was the first bridge in the city rebuilt after the 1333 flood, perhaps under design of Giotto. Again damaged in 1557, it was remade by will of Grand Duke Cosimo I de' Medici, who assigned the project to Bartolomeo Ammannati.

Enlarged during the 19th century, the bridge was blown up by the retreating German Army during World War II (1944). The current structure is a design by Ettore Fagiuoli, completed in 1948.

Ponte alla Carraia



Ponte Santa Trìnita

The first bridge in this location was built in 1252; however, the bridge as it appears today is based on the bridge built by Bartolomeo Ammannati from 1567-70. Like all the other bridges in Florence except the Ponte Vecchio, Ponte Santa Trìnita was destroyed by German forces in 1944. Some of the stones from the original bridge were recovered from the Arno, and an exact replica was built using these stones along with stones specially quarried from the Boboli gardens.

In addition to the graceful, flattened arches that span the river (which some attribute to Michelangelo), the bridge is also decorated with statues of the Four Seasons, which appear at each corner of the bridge. Fall, holding aloft a bunch of grapes, and a denuded Winter greet you as you cross the bridge from the Oltrarno, while Spring and Summer watch as the bridge deposits you onto Via Tornabuoni. These statues (or most of the parts) were recovered from the Arno after the demolition of the bridge in 1944 at various times and were eventually returned to their original places.

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Related links:
The NY Times article on the reopening of the rebuilt bridge in 1958.



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