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Photographer's Note

The Ponte Vecchio is one of Florence’s most iconic symbols. A bridge has stood here, at the narrowest point of the Arno river, since Roman times, but the various centuries-old bridges were repeatedly damaged and destroyed by river flooding. Until the Middle Ages, the bridges built here were made primarily of wood when, after a collapse in 1177, a five-arch bridge was erected in stone, and in turn destroyed by the flood of 1333 (among the most violent on record). After the construction of the riverside roads (the “lungarni”), the bridge was built again in 1345, this time with three passes, and is considered the work of Taddeo Gaddi or Neri di Fioravante. In 1565, making a crucial change to the bridge’s appearance, Giorgio Vasari built for Cosimo I the so-called Vasari Corridor, the tunnel that connects the Palazzo Vecchio with the former private residence of the Medici family, Palazzo Pitti. The raised walkway, about one kilometer long and built in just five months, starts at the Palazzo Vecchio and runs from the Uffizi Gallery, along Lungarno Archibusieri and continues over the side shops east of the bridge.
In the seventeenth century, the back shops were finally added, supported by corbels (or “protruders”), which gave the current bridge its distinctive appearance. The shops were initially occupied only by fishmongers, butchers and tanners. In 1593, by order of Ferdinand I, who couldn’t stand the unpleasant smells under the windows of the Vasari Corridor where he spent his days, they were occupied by goldsmiths and jewellers. Even today, there are only goldsmiths and jeweller’s shops on the bridge, which all overlook the central passageway, each with a single window closed by thick wooden doors (www.turismo.intoscana.it)

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Additional Photos by Ecmel Erlat (ecmel) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 131 W: 0 N: 255] (1760)
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