Ponte Vecchio history sees the famous bridge being built way back in 1345. That makes it the oldest of the Florence bridges that span the Arno River. Prior to its construction, other bridges occupied the same location, but they fell victim to floods.
One of the most famous attractions in Florence Italy, the Ponte Vecchio has been around for more than 660 years. In the 1500's, an Italian historian by the name of Giorgio Vasari recorded that the bridge’s designer was Taddeo Gaddi. According to modern historians, however, this might not be accurate. Some believe that the Ponte Vecchio was designed by Neri di Fioravanti instead.
Regardless of who designed it, the Ponte Vecchio has long been a significant Florence bridge. Its significance has something to do with the fact that it offers a convenient way to cross the Arno River. There’s also the commercial aspect. Ponte Vecchio shops have existed since the early days, and today’s examples aren’t too different than past examples. Many tourists drop by to check the shops out, and they also visit to the bridge because of the wonderful views that it offers of the Arno River.
There are a variety of interesting Ponte Vecchio facts to consider. Mark Twain once paid it a visit, for example, and he essentially poked fun at the fact that locals actually saw a need for such a bridge. Twain referred to the Arno as a mere creek, which is somewhat understandable when you consider that he grew up along the banks of the much wider Mississippi River. This opinion considered, the Ponte Vecchio has never had much trouble attracting visitors, and it is interesting to note that because of its long-standing fame, the Germans decided not to destroy it during their World War II retreat in 1944.