Florence, Italy is thought of and remembered by many travel lovers as one of the most stunning cities on earth. The Ponte Vecchio, which means “old bridge” in Italian, stands of a tangible monument to the city’s rustic, romantic beauty. The bridge folds across the Arno river and its most recent reconstruction dates back all the way to the 14th century. This will certainly be an item on your Florence travel list to look forward to.

Of course, the bridge was not always as lovely and colorful as it is today. It was originally designed as a defense mechanism to shield from water attacks. Intruders traveling in boats along the Arno river could be spotted quickly and inconspicuously thanks to the Ponte Vecchio.

ponte vecchio

Photo: thy via Flickr

Perhaps the most interesting modern day addition to the bridge is the lovely shops located along inside the bridge. Their windows and colorful exteriors can be spotted from adjacent streets, and brighten up the city with vibrant shades of green and blue. The shops are filled with mostly jewelry.

Even though Ponte Vecchio has always had merchants and vendors, it wasn’t until the late 16th century under the reign of Ferdinand I that only jewelers were allowed to sell on the bridge. This was supposedly because butchers and other food vendors tended to produce a lot of waste that left a very unappealing odor. Nowadays, you’ll find a lot of gold and silver jewelry pieces, so if you’re looking for something really special to bring home from your trip, the Ponte Vecchio is a great place to find a unique memento.

ponte vecchio

Photo: Ed Webster via Flickr

The bridge is considered to be a very romantic spot as well. Much like the Pont des Amants in France, lovers began sealing padlocks on various parts of the bridge to symbolize the strength and endurance of their relationship. Now this is romantic and lovely in sentiment, but authorities had to remove 5000 padlocks because they weren’t pretty and were damaging the metal structure of the historical bridge.

If you choose to visit the Ponte Vecchio, be sure to enjoy and respect this beautiful landmark so that its legacy can continue on for years to come!

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