Ponte Vecchio, Firenza, Italy
The Ponte Vecchio (the oldest bridge in Florence) is a medieval stone closed-spandrel segmental arch bridge over the Arno River, in Florence, Italy, noted for still having shops built along it, as was once common.
Built very close to the Roman crossing, the Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge, was the only bridge across the Arno in Florence until 1218. During World War II it was the only bridge across the Arno that the fleeing Germans did not destroy.
There have been shops on Ponte Vecchio since the 13th century. Initially, there were all types of shops, including butchers and fishmongers and, later, tanners, whose “industrial waste” caused a pretty awful smell in the area. In 1593, Ferdinand I decreed that the only goldsmiths and jewelers be allowed to have shops on the bridge. There is no “auto” traffic on this bridge. It is pedestrian only.
At the end of the bridge is the Lungarno Collection Hotel which is owned by the Ferragamo family (we all know them for their shoes and leather goods).