Posts Tagged ‘“Ponte Vecchio”’

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Beautiful bridges worth visiting in Florence

When in Florence, it’s hard to miss the Arno River. This magnificent river flows from Mount Falterona, down through Florence, Empoli, and finally Pisa, where it flows into the sea.

Several bridges span the Arno in Florence, all of which can be crossed on foot and all but the Ponte Vecchio permit cars to cross. From east to west, the bridges in order are: Ponte San Niccolò, Ponte alle Grazie, Ponte Vecchio, Ponte Santa Trinita, Ponte alla Carraia and Ponte Amerigo Vespucci.

Here’s a bit of information about the three bridges that crosses the Arno in the historic centre of Florence.

Ponte Vecchio

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Built very close to the Roman crossing, the Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge, was until 1218 the only bridge across the Arno in Florence. The current bridge was rebuilt after a flood in 1345. During World War II it was the only bridge across the Arno that the fleeing Germans did not destroy. Instead they blocked access by demolishing the medieval buildings on each side. On November 4, 1966, the bridge miraculously withstood the tremendous weight of water and silt when the Arno once again burst its banks.

Ponte Santa Trinita

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Named for the church of Santa Trinita nearby, this is probably the third oldest bridge in Florence – although it was rebuilt many times. The way we see it now is the way it was reconstructed after nazi bombing. The elliptical form of the arches has been paraleled to the curve of the top of the tombs in the Medici Chapels. At the center of each arch is a white marble cartouche, and at either end of the bridge there are two allegorical statues representing the four seasons from 1608. After the bombing of 1944, the statues were fished out of the Arno, but the head of Spring has never been found.

Ponte alla Carraia

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The first mention of the bridge (then built in wood) dates from 1218. Destroyed by a flood in 1274, it was soon reconstructed, but fell down again in 1304 under the weight of a crowd who had met to watch a spectacle. It was the first bridge in the city rebuilt after the 1333 flood, perhaps under design of Giotto. Again damaged in 1557, it was remade by will of Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici. Enlarged during the 19th century, the bridge was blown up by the retreating German Army during World War II (1944). Apparently, though, when the bridge was re-opened in 1952, citizens criticized its particularly heightened curve, nicknaming it Ponte Gobbo (hunchback).

During your stay at Il Salviatino ask your ambassador about the leisure cruise down the Arno and admire all the bridges and the city from a totally different perspective.

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Ponte Vecchio’s lock legend.

Florence is known for being the cradle of the Renaissance. However, amongst all the great pieces of art, emblematic buildings and vivid squares, Tuscany’s capital turns out to be one of the most romantic destinations. Furthermore, we could even say that Florence has a specific place dedicated to love in one of its most famous spots: the Ponte Vecchio.

The beautiful panorama at dusk, the numerous jewellery shops, in love couples passing by…and locks. Yes, locks. The barrier protecting Benvenuto Cellini’s statue in the middle of this bridge is crowded with locks due to a love legend which seems to have travelled around the world. Such legend says that if a couple places a padlock in the Ponte Vecchio and throws away it’s key to the Arno river, their love will be locked and will last forever.

Padlocks in the surroundings of Ponte Vecchio.

Padlocks in the surroundings of Ponte Vecchio.

Consequently, through the years, as Ponte Vecchio was redecorated with thousands of padlocks, Florence proved itself as a highly romantic city. But we all know that love has no barriers. This is why the padlock tradition has extended to the surroundings of Ponte Vecchio, as well as to other Italian cities. Love’s contagious nature cannot be denied.

Whatsoever, the bridge’s health started to concern the local authorities and the removal of many locks took place to prevent the oldest bridge in Europe from suffering further damage. Thus, at the moment, one would have to pay a fine if found locking love at the Ponte Vecchio.

Love can be expressed in many other different ways and with Florence in the background romance arises naturally. With love lock, or without it, Florence awaits you with its romantic aura. An aura that reaches the best 5 star hotel in Florence, Il Salviatino, the perfect setting for a love story.

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