Ponte Vecchio is Florence’s oldest bridge and has been in the city since 1345. It’s known for its beautiful architecture and jewelry shops, as well as being one of the few bridges in the world where locals still live.
It’s a landmark in Florence that you have to visit during your stay in the city. Below you can read more about the bridge and useful information before you visit.
Things to do at Ponte Vecchio
Ponte Vecchio has long been known for its beautiful architecture and shops on the bridge. In the stores you can shop local jewelry; including rings, bracelets, necklaces and watches. It’s one of the most popular places in Florence for shopping.
In addition to jewelry stores, there are also some shops selling art and antiques. Note that prices are usually higher since it’s a popular tourist attraction in Florence.
Along both sides of the river you have a great view of the bridge if you like to take pictures. You also have a great view from the Uffizi Gallery, which is an important art gallery nearby.
Another attraction worth seeing is the bronze statue made by the famous goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini.
More information about Ponte Vecchio
Ponte Vecchio is the oldest bridge in Florence dating back to the Middle Ages. However, the bridge we can see today was built in 1345 after a flood destroyed the former bridge in 1333.
It was built across the Arno River to defend Florence, but was also designed to be a beautiful building that would adorn the city.
After the bridge was completed, the government began to rent out retail space on the bridge where they sold mostly meat and fish. From these foods came a strong smell that became a bit too overwhelming and the stores were later turned into shops for goldsmiths and jewelers in the late 16th century.
A bronze statue of the goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini still stands today on the bridge, which is one of the main attractions.
Unlike other bridges in Florence, Ponte Vecchio was not damaged during the Second World War. It’s said that Hitler gave orders to preserve the bridge since he liked it and wanted to preserve it.
However, in 1966, it was greatly damaged by a flood, but today it has been restored to its original beauty.
Facts about Ponte Vecchio
- Location: Arno River in Florence
- Built: 1345
- Length: 30 m
- Width: 32 m
Hotels nearby the bridge
Below you have recommendations of two hotels within walking distance of the bridge. Both hotels are nice and modern with comfortable hotel rooms.
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Frequently asked questions
Is it free to visit the bridge?
Ponte Vecchio is open to the public, so you do not have to pay any entrance fees to visit the bridge.
How long are the shops open?
The shops are open from Monday to Saturday between 09.30-12.00 and 15.30-17.30. They are closed on Sundays.
Does anyone live in the houses on the bridge?
Yes, it’s actually one of the few bridges in the world where locals still live.
What does Ponte Vecchio mean?
Ponte Vecchio means “old bridge” in Italian.
Do you have more questions about Ponte Vecchio in Florence? Leave a comment below!