About Ponte Vecchio
The Ponte Vecchio is one of Florence’s most famous tourist attractions and the oldest bridge in the city. It is known for the collection of jewellery shops which span its length and is now a massive draw for visitors.
The first bridge constructed on the site was built in Roman times, and the following centuries saw several iterations as a mix of time and disaster took their toll. The current bridge has its roots in the 14th century.
It is thought that Ponte Vecchio became the home of the jewellery industry in the city after Ferdinand I did away with the butchers and grocers who occupied it, allegedly because he didn’t like the smell.
Today the Ponte Vecchio sits at the heart of the city and vast numbers of tourists visit every year. While the flood waters have become less frequent in recent times, the bridge has been troubled by the number of padlocks which have been attached to it – in a gesture meant to symbolise everlasting love. However, the strain this sheer amount of metal is causing to the bridge has led authorities to outlaw the practice – imposing a significant fine for breach of the ban.