Ponte Vecchio: The Famous Old Bridge of Florence
The Ponte Vecchio in Florence, also known as the “Old Bridge”, is a true jewel of the Italian metropolis. This timeless beauty spans the Arno River and a visit is one of the most fascinating things to do in Florence, not least because of its rich history. A special feature are the characteristic shops and noble boutiques that have lined the bridge since the Middle Ages and still invite you to shop and stroll. Moreover, the photo opportunities and viewpoints are also absolutely stunning. Especially the panoramic view of the colorful bridge with its renaissance buildings and the glittering river is a magical experience. But what are the best tips for the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, what can you expect when you visit it, and which guided tours are particularly recommended?
In this travel guide you will find all the important information and tips about the Ponte Vecchio in Florence in Italy. We will show you great pictures, the best impressions and where to find a nice place to stay in the vicinity.
General Information about Ponte Vecchio
The Ponte Vecchio is an architectural masterpiece and an important part of Florentine culture. It is one of the most emblematic attractions in Tuscany and a symbol of elegance, history and art. In fact, the Ponte Vecchio is the oldest bridge over the Arno in Florence and is even considered one of the oldest segmental arch bridges in the world. Its history actually dates back to Etruscan times. However, it was only built in stone between 1335 and 1345 after a previous wooden bridge was destroyed by a flood. It has remained unchanged ever since. With a length of over 84 meters, a width of 30 meters and three segmental arches, it spans the Arno, Florence’s enchanting river. It is also worth noting that the Ponte Vecchio is the only bridge in Florence that was undamaged during the Second World War.
Since 1345, there have been numerous small shops along the bridge, which still characterize the Ponte Vecchio today. Originally they were occupied by butchers and tanners who threw their smelly waste directly into the Arno. In 1593-1594 they were replaced by jewelers and goldsmiths by Ferdinando I de’ Medici, mainly to eliminate the stench and disorder. In the same year, Giorgio Vasari had a second floor built above the shops to create the Vasari Corridor. Today, the iconic Bürcke is a wonderful pedestrian area with a wide selection of jewelers, watchmakers, artisans and exclusive boutiques. Also worth seeing is the bust of Benvenuto Cellini, a famous 16th century goldsmith.
Guided Tours to Ponte Vecchio
The Ponte Vecchio is located in the center of Florence, in close proximity to other major attractions, making it easy to explore on your own. You can also take a walk to explore some of the other highlights of the city such as the Uffizi Gallery or the Palazzo Pitti. There is also the possibility to join a guided tour for visiting the Ponte Vecchio.
Tours with a local guide, as well as affordable tickets and exciting excursions in the Florence area can be found online at GetYourGuide.
Where to Stay near Ponte Vecchio
There are several excellent places to stay near the Ponte Vecchio. Most are elegant hotels, bed and breakfasts, or apartments, and their central location makes them ideal for a city trip to Florence. If you are looking for a place to stay very close to the famous “Old Bridge”, we can give you these recommendations… It’s worth a look!
- 5 Star Luxury Hotel: The luxurious Portrait Firenze – Lungarno Collection is one of the best hotels in Florence. The location overlooking the Ponte Vecchio is also fantastic!
- Beautiful 4 Star Hotel: The Hotel degli Orafi is located in a former 13th century Augustinian monastery with a fantastic view of the Ponte Vecchio.
- Great Vacation Apartment: The MyFlorenceHoliday Gold Bridge offers charming vacation apartments and rooms just 100 meters from the Ponte Vecchio.
More about Florence:
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. Meaning that if you click on certain links, and then subsequently purchase a product, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.