Ponte Vecchio

Posted: May 15, 2009 in Photography, Vacations/Travel
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio

Florence ended up being one of my favorite parts of Italy. I can’t explain why really. There was just something about it that spoke to me. I guess I found myself incredibly intrigued by the Ponte Vecchio too. It almost seems that half of the photos I took in Florence were of this old bridge. It does have a cool history though. Here’s a little piece of it.

Originally the bridge was built to allow access over the Arno. Slowly, with so much traffic going over it, a few enterprising parties decided to set up shop on the bridge itself. As that early traffic consisted primarily of traveling soldiers, it isn’t surprising that the first merchants to set up shop were blacksmiths, butchers, and tanners.

During the Middle Ages was around the time that the powerful Medici family moved into Florence. They brought with them vast wealth and an appreciation for the finer things in life. Seeing those older merchants using the Arno River as their own personal sewer system didn’t exactly fit in with their ideas for the beautification of Florence. Soon the blacksmiths, butchers, and tanners were replaced with goldsmiths and artists, and the number of shops increased tremendously.

During World War II, the Ponte Vecchio was not destroyed by Germans during their retreat of August 4, 1944, unlike all other bridges in Florence. This was allegedly because of an express order by Hitler. Access to Ponte Vecchio was, however, obstructed by the destruction of the buildings at both ends, which have since been rebuilt using a combination of original and modern design.

In 1966, when a massive flood wiped out the shops on the bridge, the bridge itself was strong enough to withstand the roaring waters.

The Ponte Vecchio embodies the progress of humanity because it has come from carrying soldiers to battle, to open commerce, to a vast gathering place for peoples from all walks of life.

  1. razzbuffnik says:

    Beautiful shot. I’m going to Italy later this year and now I’ve got another “must see” item on my list.

  2. I really like your picture of the Ponte Vecchio. I visited in 2006 and was so frustrated that on a bright overcast day I could not get the light or see the angles.

    • jennybachsmith says:

      Hi Andrew,
      Thanks for commenting on my photo. I understand what you’re saying about trying to get the right light to see the angles. This is an HDR photo. I combined the same image at five different exposures (-2, -1, 0, +1, +2) to get the most out of the lights and shadows. There’s a program called Photomatix that makes that process pretty darn easy.

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