Gracing many of Italy’s postcards, the history-rich 677 year-old Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) is about to be restored for the first time. The world-famous bridge which crosses the River Arno, was originally constructed back in 994 AD. Floods over the years saw the Old Bridge needing reconstruction a number of times, then in 1345 was rebuilt to how we see it today, the segmental stone arch bridge.
The Ponte Vecchio, who designed and built Florence’s famous arch bridge?
It is believed the architect for the design and build of the Ponte Vecchio was Taddeo Gaddi. Gaddi, a student of famous Italian painter Giotto, built the bridge in a Medieval style. Initially, butchers and tanners occupied the shops on either side, however in 1593 only goldsmiths and jewellers were to be occupants, a decision based on too much waste and foul smells created by the former tenants.
The Vasari Corridor
On of the famous features of the Ponte Vecchio is the passageway built in 1565 by renaissance master Giorgio Vasari by order of Duke Cossimo I de Medici. The passageway connects the house of government at Palazzo Vecchio to the residence of the Medici at Palazzo Pitti and allowed the Medici to pass through the city in relative safety. The Vasari Corridor is most visible over the Ponte Vecchio enclosing underneath the many speciality jewellery boutiques that have remained for centuries.
Are there concerns for the Old Bridge? Is that why there is planned restoration work for the Ponte Vecchio?
While the Ponte Vecchio is structurally sound, signs of age and years of exposure to the River Arno means the bridge needs some love and attention. Considered a cosmetic restoration, the focus will be on removing weeds, consolidating and reinforcing stones, as well as replacing any missing elements. Special attention will also be on the wooden piles supporting the jewellery shops, while the bridge surface stones will be re-secured and finished with a protective coat of sealant to protect against any rain getting into the structure.
The Mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, states that the time has come for a restyling of the famous bridge which brings so much to the city. People travel to Florence to cross this magnificent structure, so the city is investing towards delivering a fully restored heritage site for travellers to enjoy for many more years.
At Vita Italian Tours, we visit the Renaissance city of Florence on our The Best of Tuscany, Umbria & Le Marche small group tour. Tour leaders take you across the Ponte Vecchio and to so many other amazing sites in this culture-filled city. Nina, a member of the family team, has lived in Florence for over 16 years and this intimate local knowledge of the city is invaluable when devising Tailor-Made itineraries to Florence and Tuscany.
Contact us today to start planning your visit.
Written by. Dijana – Marketing Manager & Content Creator.