There are few better places from which to enjoy river views and sunsets than the Ponte Vecchio, built in 1345. Spanning the Arno's narrowest point, this is the only bridge to have survived the German bombing of the city in 1944. There have always been shops on the bridge; the original butchers and grocers were replaced by sweeter-smelling gold and silversmiths in 1593. Sitting right in the middle is a bust of Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571), the most famous goldsmith of them all.
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Close-Up of the Ponte Vecchio
While in Florence in May, my husband and I visited the world-famous Ponte Vecchio. I loved the vibrant colors and varied textures of the bridge and they way things like these shuttered windows and pastel walls came together so well to make the Ponte Vecchio the beauty it is.
While looking at the beautiful Ponte Vecchio in Florence in May I noticed how beautiful the reflection of the bridge in the Arno River was too. As I was photographing the bridge's reflection on the mirror-like surface of the river these rowers came into my picture just as I clicked the shutter, making the reflection even more interesting.
As I admired the Ponte Vecchio during a trip to Florence in May, I was struck by how many artists like this one sat on the banks of the River Arno, seemingly inspired by the magic of the bridge and Florence itself.
Along with the various artists lining the Ponte Vecchio in Florence are many people playing instruments. I was struck by this man playing his accordion. The beauty of the Ponte Vecchio and Arno River were made even more beautiful and authentically Italian by this man's music.
While admiring the Ponte Vecchio during a trip to Florence in May, I was struck by how many artists like this one sat on the banks of the River Arno, seemingly inspired by the magic of the bridge and Florence itself.
It's no wonder this postcard-perfect bridge is so famous. Lined with shops along the inside and a striking beauty from the outside, it's one of my favourite bridges in Europe - apart from the sentimentally sweet Lock bridge in Paris!
If you really want to get down and get local, you need to be prepared to eat local too, and in Florence, no food is more local than tripe (trippa), or cow’s stomach. And it’s cheap. The best place to eat it is from one of the traditional tripperie (tripe stands) that you'll find around town: in Florence, they cook it in a tomato sauce and serve it with a sprinkling of Parmesan. If that doesn’t appeal, try lampredotto (cow’s intestines) packed into a bun with a gloop of piquant, garlic-y salsa verde on top. You’ll find stalls under the Loggia del Porcellino, in Piazza de’Cimatori and on the corner of Via de’Macci and Borgo La Croce.
Near the Ponte Vecchio, I came across a chain covered with padlocks that had couples names written on them. After further research, I read that after the lock is secured, the key is tossed into the Arno river in hopes of getting a lock on love.