The history of the Ponte Vecchio in Florence has its origins in the time of the Etruscans and Romans, passing through the flood of 1333, which determines its definitive construction in stone, up to 1565: the year of the construction of the Vasari corridor, on the occasion of the wedding of Francesco de'Medici with Giovanna of Austria. Here is some information on how to get there, prices and useful tips on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence.
- Where is it and how to get there
- Hours and prices
- Tours, guided tours and tickets online
- What to see and how to visit the Ponte Vecchio
- Useful tips for visiting the attraction
- Historical notes, curiosities and practical info: what to know in brief
- User questions and comments
Where is it and how to get there
- On foot: it is the simplest solution as it is duly reported. The city is almost entirely closed to traffic, or subject to strict restrictions, therefore it is advisable to move mainly on foot or by public transport, parking the car at the Santa Maria Novella station. From here, the Bridge is approximately a 17 minute walk - Get directions
- By bus: lines C1 and C2
Hours and prices
- Ponte Vecchio is accessible at all hours. To fully enjoy all its beauties it is recommended to visit it at different times, for example in the morning, to savor a glimpse of life in Florence and at night, to admire the wonderful view. The Vasari Corridor, on the other hand, can only be accessed by reservation.
- access to the Ponte Vecchio is free while, for the Vasari Corridor, a ticket must be paid which also includes a visit to the Uffizi Gallery. The total cost is around € 85 but is subject to variations, based on the different accessible areas. More information on how to book is available on the official website
Tours, guided tours and tickets online
What to see and how to visit the Ponte Vecchio
Ponte Vecchio is in fact the oldest bridge in the city, built in wood in 972. The bridge, as seen today, dates back to 1345, in order to replace the structure that, in 1333,it was swept away by the terrible flood. The works for the rebuilding of the bridge were made possible thanks to the construction, on both sides, of masonry shops rented to the merchants of the time: mainly fishmongers and butchers, greengrocers and tanners.
However, starting from 1593 this reality changed. Probably disturbed by the bad smell and the noise coming from the shops, the grand duke Ferdinand I gave the eviction to all the shopkeepers, replacing them with goldsmiths and artisans, certainly more "worthy" to carry out their activity near Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti, purchased by the Medici a few decades earlier. The shops present today on the bridge, although they may present traces of modernity, have nevertheless preserved the charm of the ancient. In fact, when the wooden doors of the shops close in the evening, walking on the Ponte Vecchio means taking a real dip in the past.
In ancient times, four towers stood at the four corners of the bridge, of which only the Mannelli tower survives (at the corner with via de Bardi), while that of the Rossi Cerchi has been entirely rebuilt. At the center of the bridge a space was preserved, destined to become a square, whereit is possible to admire the medieval battlements, which probably surrounded buildings and shops: it is good to remember that the bridge, in addition to being a place of commerce, was the first defensive bulwark of Florence.
Not to be missed is the sundial, which can be seen looking up towards the shops erected behind the Benvenuto Cellini monument. In the shape of a crescent, this decorates one of the walls of a shop, and is dated 1345. Furthermore, moving your gaze towards the Church of Santa Felicita, you will notice that it is possible to have an excellent overview of its interior: this is because, , was asked to study a method to be able to attend religious services, without necessarily mingling with the crowd.
The Vasari Corridor
In 1565, on the occasion of the wedding of Francesco de 'Medici and Giovanna of Austria, the Grand Duke Cosimo asked Giorgio Vasari to build a passage that connected Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti and the Uffizi. The grandiose work was completed in five months and is just over a kilometer long. The corridor begins in the Palazzo Vecchio, reaches the Uffizi, winds over the shops of the Ponte Vecchio, and then reaches Palazzo Pitti. The Vasari Corridor today it is the most beautiful and famous panoramic terrace in all of Florence, except the seat of numerous paintings and works of art. In order to access the Corridor, a reservation and payment of the ticket are required, which vary according to various factors. In order to receive more information, it is advisable to contact the staff of the Uffizi Museum, or to stay updated on the official website page.
Useful tips for visiting the attraction
- Recommended times: as a commercial and tourist area it is advisable to visit the bridge during peak hours to not miss a wonderful glimpse of life, which makes the place fascinating and characteristic. It is preferable to visit the bridge early in the morning, in order to be able to see the historical / artistic beauties, during the late morning / early afternoon, when the shops are open and towards sunset / evening, to admire the spectacle of the lights of the sun. and the moon reflecting on the Arno.
- Beware of personal items: it is normally a very crowded place so we recommend paying attention to bags and any valuables.
- The minimum time: for a visit to the Ponte Vecchio it takes about an hour, with reference to the uncrowded parts of the day, early morning, evening and night.
- Street Food: it is dotted with street food vendors, an excellent opportunity to taste some local delicacies, including the sandwich with lampredotto or the covaccino with stracchino and sausage.
The Luccheti degli Lovers: the gate that protects the statue of Benvenuto Cellini is "embellished" by a series of padlocks, left there by those in love as a testimony of their indissoluble love. If you want to do the same, be careful not to be caught in the act, you could face a hefty fine.
Historical notes, curiosities and practical info: what to know in brief
Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge that crossed the Arno in Florence until 1218. During the Second World War the German troops destroyed all the bridges of the city except this one, but they blocked the access anyway, destroying the two medieval buildings on the sides.
By following the corridor that passes over the Ponte Vecchio with your eyes, you will notice how the series of small round windows suddenly stop, leaving room for much larger windows. These were built in 1939 by the will of Benito Mussolini, in order to allow the German dictator to better admire the panorama. Legend has it that it was the fascination of the view of Florence from the Vasari Corridor that convinced Hitler not to destroy the bridge.
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