Florence's Ponte Vecchio

Northern Italy's famed bridge is full of living history.

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy, image

Ponte Vecchio is Florence’s lone medieval bridge.

Walk across the Ponte Vecchio and you’ll feel like you’ve traveled farther than the width of Italy’s Arno River. The medieval stone-arch bridge bustles with shops and bargain hunters, just as it did in the 1300s. Back then, the trades ran toward hide tanning and fish mongering. Today, you’ll find leather handbags and diamond brooches. (Some bargains are relative.) Street musicians perform night and day for the crowds. Part of the Vasari Corridor, an elaborate covered passageway built for a Medici grand duke, runs along the top of the shops and connects the Pitti Palace, now a famed art museum, to the Uffizi Gallery, home of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. To get the best view, find a vantage point along the bank. You’ll see the bridge for what it is: a marketplace over the water, with history all around.

Photography courtesy of sheerseydc/Wikipedia

This article was first published in November 2013. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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