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Ponte Vecchio, literally translated to “old bridge” is one of the most iconic symbols of the city of Florence in Italy. The bridge that stands today was reconstructed after a devastating flood in 1345. Since then, it has remained intact. The construction of the original bridge goes way back, so the name “Ponte Vecchio” is apt.

Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio is built over the Arno river in Florence. One of the most popular reasons why this bridge is famous is because it was the only bridge that was not destroyed by the Germans during the second world war. The engineering of the bridge is fantastic, and it is truly one of the landmarks in Florence. 

History of Ponte Vecchio

Alright, so it isn’t exactly clear as to who built the bridge after 1345. We know that the first bridge was built in 966, so that was quite a while ago. Some people believe that the current bridge was built by the Dominican friars, while others attribute it to Taddeo Gaddi

Ponte Vecchio

As I mentioned, Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge to have not been destroyed by the Nazi regime in the second world war. Many people say that this is because the bridge was so beautiful. While I agree that this bridge is stunning, the reason why it was spared is a little deeper.

Apparently, it was Hitler himself who ordered the retainment of Ponte Vecchio. This was because the Uffizi gallery treasures were stored here. The Uffizi gallery, even today is one of the most popular art museums in Italy. Due to this, the Germans found another way. Instead of destroying it, they sealed it off from both ends. They did this by demolishing the buildings on either side of the Ponte Vecchio. 

Ponte Vecchio

Why Was The Bridge Built? 

The main reason for building the bridge was for defence. Today, merchants, goldsmiths and other shops line the bridge, making it a really happening place. Another use of the bridge is that it links the Pitti Plaza to the Piazza Republic and the Piazza Duomo, which is also one of the most popular landmarks in Florence. 

Ponte Vecchio

Structure of The Bridge

The Ponte Vecchio has withstood so much, so it is important to talk a little about its magnificent structure. The bridge is basically a three-arch design, with the central art being the biggest one. This central arch goes on for a distance of 30 metres. The side arches cover a lesser distance of 27 metres.

The central arch has a height of 4.4 metres, while the side arches have a height of 3.5 metres. So, a small ship can actually pass under the bridge. In fact, one recommended way to explore the bridge is by taking a boat ride, and you even pass under the bridge. We’ll talk about this a little more in a bit. 

Ponte Vecchio at sunset

Ponte Vecchio actually has four towers, which were useful for defence in the past. Today, however, the Torr Dei Mannelli is the only functioning tower, which has been positioned to the south-east corner of the bridge, 

Things To Do at Ponte Vecchio

Bridge Shops

The Ponte Vecchio is known for the several jewellery stores and souvenir shops lining both sides. As you walk through, you’ll find so many small jewellery sellers with necklaces, earrings, rings and a lot more. Jewellery makes a great gift, and the Ponte Vecchio is a great place to get some unique and interesting pieces. These pieces are usually handmade, so that personal touch is there.

Shopping at Ponte Vecchio

It also gives you that sense of street shopping, which is an amazing way to get in touch with the place’s local culture too. Earlier, fishmongers and butchers were also spread around the bridge. However, they’ve been evicted since and thus, the number of jewellery shops has increased.

Art studios ad souvenir stores can also be found here, and these also make great gifts for friends and families or keepsakes for yourself. 

Ponte Vecchio Padlock 

The Ponte Vecchio padlock legend goes that if you and your lover attach a lock at the gate, and throw the key into the river below, the love will last for eternity. It sounds like it’s straight out of a romantic comedy, right? Well, it might as well be, the practice is honestly a really wholesome one. While nobody actually knows how the practice came about, one can find several padlocks along the gate that surrounds Benvenuto Cellini statue.

Padlocks at Ponte Vecchio

The downside is that today, this practice of fixing locks on the gate is honestly not encouraged. The sheer amount and weight of the locks damaged the bridge, so it is now not allowed to fix your locks on the gate. Nevertheless, you can still walk along and look at the hundreds of padlocks. It is still quite a romantic place to be, and the atmosphere around is still filled with love. 


You can actually go under the bridge itself, on a boat ride. A number of traditional boats are available and these will give you an entirely new perspective of the city itself, with its monuments and buildings.

Construction of Ponte Vecchio

Also, it is quite a romantic journey, as you sail through the beautiful Arno river and under the stunning Ponte Vecchio. You’ll feel like you’re in a movie, and it is truly an enchanting experience. 

Walk Around, And Take Pictures 

The sunsets, the skylines and the scenery of Florence from the Ponte Vecchio are just breathtaking. Florence is a beautiful city as it is, and watching all of this from the Ponte Vecchio just makes the experience better.

View from Ponte Vecchio

The view of the Arno river below, with landmarks like the Piazza Duomo and Uffizi Gallery, creates a perfect picture. Even just walking around, stopping at shops and cafes and enjoying the ambience is a great way to get the best out of Ponte Vecchio. 

Ponte Vecchio at night

Getting to Ponte Vecchio

Now that you know what to do at Ponte Vecchio, and have a little background, let’s talk about how you can actually get there. Ponte Vecchio is one of the most popular locations in all of Florence, so getting there is actually quite simple. You can get here by train, bus or taxi. The bus and train routes are recommended because they’re cheaper and more convenient.

Ponte Vecchio

However, you can also walk here. Florence is a tiny city, so getting to Ponte Vecchio on foot shouldn’t take you too long either. Besides, walking through the city with its art and architecture will also be an experience in itself. 

The Ponte Vecchio is also accessible from the airport by train, bus and taxi. Basically, getting to Ponte Vecchio is really, really easy. 

If you’re planning a trip to Italy, here is a list of things you’ve got to check out!

Visiting Ponte Vecchio Travel Guide For 2023

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you drive on Ponte Vecchio?

No, cars are not allowed on the bridge. Only pedestrians and bicycles are permitted. 

Do you need to pay an entry fee to enter Ponte Vecchio?

No, the great news is, entrance is free!

Is Ponte Vecchio Wirth visiting?

Absolutely. Ponte Vecchio is one of those places in Florence you have to see. It is the pride of Florence, and once you know about the history and the atmosphere on the bridge, you’ll know why. 

What is so unique about Ponte Vecchio?

One of the most unique features of this bridge is that it was the only one that went destroyed by the Nazi regime during the second world war. 


Ponte Vecchio is something that should totally be on your list for when you visit Florence. With its architecture, history and overall atmosphere, this bridge is an iconic one. It is evident why the bridge is such an important one in the city of Florence and it is a place you must definitely visit.


Have you guys been to Ponte Vecchio? What did you do there? I’d love to know about your experience in the comments below. 

I’ll see you guys in the next one. Have a great day!

Visiting Ponte Vecchio Travel Guide For 2023

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