Ponte Vecchio is one among the beloved landmarks of Florence. It is the old bridge which is stone span for crossing River Arno at the narrowest point. Original bridge was constructed during the first century AD but that swept away in the floods. River Arno is infamous for the floods and the bridge had to be rebuilt every time with more strength. The bridge that stands today across the Arno River got constructed in 1345 after one flood. The bridge has withstand almost all the adversities hit on it. The shops on the bridge were majorly occupied by butchers and Medicis kicked them out in the year 1593. The bridge then became the hub of jewelry merchants and goldsmiths and some souvenir shops too slipped in with some years.
One can find shops on the sides of this bridge. The bridge was initially occupied by the butcher shop which contaminated the water and also made the major area of the city smell bad. These conditions made Medicis decide to evacuate the butchers from the major bridge. This gave away the chances for goldsmiths to establish their shops on the bridge and is still the place where one would easily find a jewelry shop.
Statue of Benvenuto Cellini
The severe looking bronze statue was placed in the year 1900 by leading goldsmiths on Ponte Vecchio for commemorating doyen of Benvenuto Cellini who is a great Italian goldsmith. He had a celebrated life and had travelled almost all parts of Italy and France. His autobiography became one of the popular historical documents on life in 16th century. His life resembled not much with an ordinary goldsmith’s but more like the way the artists would aspire to live.
The Ponte Vecchio has a secret passage too associated with it. The secret passage on this old bridge is named Vasai Corridor. It is named after Giorgio Vasari who is popular for the writings of hagiographies and biographies. Even when he was artist and architect, he was most popular for the books he wrote on Artists and their lives and the renaissance period.
The corridor was designed originally for Medicis to commute to home from work without stepping outside. Vasari designed this corridor which is one kilometer long connecting Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti. The corridor went over jewelry shops and it was reserved to be used only by Medicis. They were allowed to walk through it or could even make use of specially designed carriage which can accommodate two for commuting through the corridor.
Ponte Vecchio is an amazing pedestrian bridge which is still a great place one would like to spend sometime in the center of Florence.