The Ponte Vecchio, or “old bridge” spans the Arno River in Florence, Italy. There has been a bridge here since Roman times. It has been destroyed several times by floods (1117 and 1333) but always rebuilt. The bridge we see today is the work of Giorgio Vasari, a noted artist from the city, and dates from 1345. The bridge has always been a place for merchants to sell their wares. Initially this was done by placing their table (banco in Italian) on the bridge and displaying their products. The elevated shops that can been seen from this vantage point (upriver) were added in the 17th century.
Today, the bridge is filled with tourists, jewelers and souvenir shops. It is a very popular destination and crowded during the day. To experience it at its best, visit early in the morning (before 8:00) or at night after the shops close.