Florence in Italy is full of wondrous sights for the visitor but perhaps the most beautiful spot, especially of an evening, would have to be the “old bridge”, Ponte Vecchio. Crowded most days with shoppers, sightseers, musicians and, alas, great opportunists (pickpockets), you may be hesitant to wade in but as with all locations some times are busier than others so check back several times during the day. Or throw caution to the wind, join the exuberant crowds, relish in the exciting atmosphere, shop the jewellery stores, dine in the restaurants, and snap photos, and hide your valuables. You are, after all, just repeating ancient history – in a way.
The Ponte Vecchio is the oldest bridge spanning the Arno River. It’s big, it’s low slung, and it’s strong. There have been other bridges on this spot since Roman times as this is where the river narrows but the Arno floods and destroys repeatedly over the years. The current version of the bridge however, attributed to Taddeo Gaddi, was built in medieval times to withstand the flooding, even the disastrous one of 1966 which, after centuries, damaged some of the buildings but not the bridge. Originally, four towers were constructed by different prominent citizens to guard entrance, only one on the south remains today, the others swept away, not by water but by convenience.