The Ponte Vecchio or Old Bridge, is a medieval bridge that spans the river Arno at its narrowest point, it is also the only bridge remaining in Florence that still has shops along its length. Traditionally these shops were rented out to butchers and greengrocers, but they have long since gone and replaced by souvenir sellers, jewelers and a spattering of art dealers. This is a pedestrian only bridge and a very popular tourist attraction, so is usually very busy. The atmosphere is enhanced by the presence of musicians and other entertainers.
The Ponte Vecchio has three arches with the centre arch spanning about 30 meters or just under 100 feet. The Ponte Vecchio is located in such a key position that there has been a bridge on this site since at least Roman times.
In August 1944 during the retreat of the German forces, all of Florence’s bridges were destroyed apart from the Ponte Vecchio, but the buildings at each end of the bridge were destroyed to obstruct access. These have since been reconstructed.
On the upper side of the bridge, is a corridor that was designed to enable the Medici family to easily travel from the Uffizi Gallery over the river to the Palazzo Pitti.