PONTE VECCHIO - CROSSING THE ARNO
One of the most famous and lovely bridges in Europe
is the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy.
There is nothing more beautiful than standing
along the banks of the Arno and seeing how this
beautiful bridge shines in the glorious
light of the Tuscan sun.
My favorite time was dusk seeing the reflection of the buildings and the bridge in the Arno river.
Ponte Vecchio means "old bridge." It is an excellent example of a Medieval Stone arch bridge from the 13th century that spans the two banks of the Arno in the center of Florence.
The bridge was rebuilt after a massive flood in 1345.
There have always been shops on the Ponte Vecchio.
The shops were first set up for butchers and
later tanners and then later for jewellers.
Today there are still the jewellers and gold shops
along with art and souvenir sellers.
And like all cities, there are a few characters that can
be seen everyday. This is one of my favorite.
According to an artist friend of mine who lives
in Florence, this lady is on the Ponte Vecchio
everyday looking for a "donation or two"
from the tourists and she always wears
her bright red crocs.
My friend has captured a most wonderful image
of her in one of her paintings
of street people of Florence.
There are always a couple of polizia on the bridge
making sure all is well and I'm sure,
keeping an eye on all the gold shops along the bridge.
This is a view from the Ponte Vecchio looking up the Arno river. Twenty years ago, I visited Florence
after biking across northern Italy, I stayed in a
pensione that had a terrace that overlooked the Arno,
just two blocks away from the bridge.
To sit on the terrace drinking a glass of wine
and enjoying some cured meats and cheese
from the region will be a memory for me for a life time.
When I went back to find the pensione this trip,
it had been renovated into a high end hotel.
but it was still nice to revisit this beautiful sight.
All photos by Meg Mitchell