Ponte Vecchio#13 in Best Things To Do in Florence
Price & Hours
- 2.5Food Scene
Much like London's Tower Bridge, the Ponte Vecchio was built to replace an earlier bridge. Once dominated by butchers and bakers, the original bridge was washed away during a flood in the early 14th century. When the new Ponte Vecchio was completed, it too was home to local food stores until grand Duke Ferdinand I of the Medici family decided to designate this unadorned bridge the epicenter of the city's gold and jewel trade. It has maintained this identity ever since.
Recent visitors said it is especially beautiful at sunset. If you don't want to overpay for souvenirs, heed the advice of past travelers and avoid shopping along the bridge. Some reviewers also recommend taking a gondola tour of the Arno River to experience sailing beneath the bridge, though they do warn this will cost you.
The Ponte Vecchio traverses the Arno River near central Florence. Throughout its history, it has survived floods and even attacks during World War II, making it one of the oldest bridges in Italy to span the Arno. Today, it is one of the most popular sites in the city, which means you should be prepared for heavy crowds and high prices. If you're looking for river views without fighting the tour groups, try the nearby Ponte Santa Trinita instead.
More Best Things To Do in Florence
#1 Piazza della Signoria
Loggia dei Lanzi, in the Piazza della Signoria, is an open-air (and free) museum that was designed in the 14th century by Orcagna, an influential architect and artist. Below the building's curved arches are dozens of sculptures (notable ones include Giambologna's Rape of the Sabines and Cellini's Perseus), which draw crowds of tourists and locals alike. Behind it sits the Galleria degli Uffizi. The Piazza della Signoria is also filled with its (more than) fair share of sculptures, including a towering replica of Michaelangelo's David.
Take your time wandering around, and if you get tired, grab a seat along the Loggia dei Lanzi, or make your way to a cafe near the Fountain of Neptune. Recent visitors said this is a must-see spot and a great area to people-watch, view magnificent sculptures and rest travel-weary feet (though past travelers recommended avoiding the restaurants in this area, calling them "outrageously overpriced." To avoid the height of the crowds, visit in the evening. Access to the area is free 24/7.
Explore More of Florence
If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.