A beautiful, bustling medieval bridge
Noteworthy for: The concept of ‘bankruptcy’ was born here: when a merchant here was unable to pay his debts, soldiers would break (‘ruptus’) the table (‘bancus’) on which he sold his goods.
Word to the wise: Don’t add to the ‘love padlocks’ on the bridge - you can be fined EUR 50.
Located in the very heart of the city, spanning the narrowest point of the Arno river, Ponte Vecchio (the ‘old bridge’) is one of Florence’s most recognisable sights. Originally a wooden bridge constructed by the Romans, this current stone-built incarnation - famous for its wide span arches, numerous shops and tiny artistic flourishes - has stood on this site since 1345, having survived floods, bombing campaigns and erosion during its centuries-long existence.
Although originally home to butchers and fishmongers, the bridge’s shops were occupied by goldsmiths in the late 16th century, and these remain to this day. You'll also find plenty of trinket stalls and pedestrian vendors selling tacky souvenirs - which can detract from the bridge's charm somewhat. But crowds and commercialism aside, this is one of Florence's most charming attractions, and more than worthy of a quick visit.