- Backpackers / Students
- Families with teenagers
- Great views / scenery
- Live entertainment
- People watching
Cross this celebrated bridge in the early evening for absurdly romantic sunset views.
I cross this bridge most days and it never fails to thrill. Well, not quite so much in the tourist season when it’s heaving with people, but that’s beside the point. One of the most famous bridges in the world, the Ponte Vecchio crosses the Arno at its narrowest point. Often seething with people and buskers, try and cross it at least once at night when the old wooden shop fronts are down and the crowds are gone; it offers a taste of the of the medieval city that once was.
The present bridge was built in 1345 and by the late 15th century, the shops lining it were inhabited by butchers and grocers who chucked their evil-smelling waste straight into the Arno. Grand Duke Ferdinand I replaced these with gold and silver smiths at the end of the 16th century; they have been there ever since, and to this day, Florentine goldsmiths are renowned for their traditional skills. The bridge has survived two major traumas in recent history - in 1945 the Nazis blew up all of Florence’s bridges, saving only the Ponte Vecchio on the express orders of Hitler, and then, in 1966, the flooded waters of the Arno rose so high that a fortune in gold was washed away. The statue in the centre is of the most celebrated of goldsmiths, Benvenuto Cellini.