The Ponte Vecchio is one of Florence’s most recognizable landmarks.
The original wooden bridge dated from the Etruscan and Roman times and was the city’s only bridge until the 13th century. It was destroyed in a flood; what we see today dates from the 14th century.
A concealed passageway runs over the arcades that allowed the then-rulers Medicis to shuttled between their two palaces on either side of the river, Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti, unobserved.
Earlier merchants were butchers and fishmongers, who tossed their waste overboard, and tanners who used the river to soak hides. The jewelry vendors date from the 16th century, when Ferdinando I upgraded the tenancy.