Ponte Vecchio Florence Italy about 1892


THE PONTE VECCHIO, FLORENCE, ITALY — The most picturesque, as well as the most ancient, Florentine bridge which crosses the river Arno is the Ponte Vecchio, or “Old Bridge.” Old indeed it is, having been built more than 500 years ago. In the centre of it is a pretty portico with three arches, affording delightful views up and down the stream. For centuries the sides of this bridge have had some shops of jewelers and goldsmiths, clinging to it, like barnacles to the sides of a ship. Above these the line of small windows indicates a passage way, formerly called the Gallery of the Grand Duke. It was built to connect the Palace of the Uffizi on one side of the Arno with the Pitti Palace on the other. Now that both of these splendid palaces are art museums open to the world, this corridor is freely used by tourists; for as is plainly seen in this illustration, the Ponte Vecchio is continued, after it reaches each bank, by this covered corridor uniting one building with the other. The sight of this old bridge is sufficient to recall more or less vividly all the great events of Florentine history. Almost every famous citizen of Florence, from Michael Angelo to Benvenuto Cellini has often crossed that bridge and leaned upon the parapet of its Loggia. Nor has fiction failed to impart to this fine old structure a veil of romance. In George Elliot’s matchless novel, “Romola,” it was from the arches of this Ponte Vecchio that Tito, to escape the mob, leaped downward through the darkness into the river, there to swim onward into the open country, where, as he landed in exhaustion, he met the fate that he deserved — death, by the feeble hands of the old man he had betrayed. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)

Ponte Vecchio Florence 2016

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