Ponte Vecchio, the Bridge of Goldsmiths and Jewelers

Ponte Vecchio in Florence
Explore Ponte Vecchio, Florence's famous bridge of goldsmiths and jewelers. Learn about its fascinating history and jewelry shops.

Discover Florence’s Old Bridge and its unique jewelry shops.

The Ponte Vecchio in Florence is rich in both history and the most luxurious commodities. This historic bridge over the Arno River is a symbol of Florence and boasts a distinctive feature: there are shops built along it. And these aren’t just any shops, but renowned goldsmiths and jewelers. Taking a stroll along it is a must during your visit to Florence.

History of Ponte Vecchio

The bridge was first constructed in Medieval times and up until 1218 it was the only bridge across the Arno River. Unfortunately, the original bridge was flooded and destroyed in 1333, but since then its reconstruction has withstood the test of time.

Since the 13th century, shops have populated the Ponte Vecchio–building shops on such bridges was then a common practice. Initially, there were shops of all kinds, including butchers and fishmongers.

Ponte Vecchio in Florence

The Best Fashion Shops in Florence

The arrival of jewelers dates back to the late 16th century when Ferdinando I de’ Medici decided that only goldsmiths and jewelers could establish shops on the Ponte Vecchio, aiming to create a pleasant environment for strolling. Since then, kings, queens, and celebrities have flocked to this bridge to explore the finest selection of luxury jewelry.

The influx of a diverse and international clientele enhanced the reputation of the bridge, marking it as the focal point of an affluent Florence, where people sought to acquire jewelry pieces such as rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces crafted on the Ponte Vecchio.

Today, some shops continue to craft their own jewelry within the ancient workshops, while also featuring creations from some of the most renowned jewelry brands.

Ponte Vecchio valiantly weathered World War II and came out completely unscathed as the only bridge in Florence that was not torn down. On November 4th, 1966, the bridge again proved its durability against a considerable flood. Today, the Ponte Vecchio still stands tall, drawing visitors from around the globe. Stepping foot on this iconic bridge is an experience like no other—a truly magical moment.

Ponte Vecchio in Florence

Ponte Vecchio’s jewelry shops

As of today, 48 shops inhabit the bridge of Ponte Vecchio. They each exclusively sell either sell jewelry or high-end trinkets: rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, pendants, home décor items, ornaments, and much more. You can even watch the goldsmiths craft their creations by hand through the shop windows.

There’s also jewelry from emerging designers and brands that opt for alternatives to gold, instead using silver and gemstones.

When you cross the bridge look out for one business that stands apart from the rest. Fratelli Piccini is a family-owned shop from 1903 that holds one of the few goldsmiths still on Ponte Vecchio. Her name is Carlotta Gambineri and she practices her craft every day in her workshop on the Old Bridge.

Florence Local Fashion Tour

During this tour, you will have the unique opportunity to wander through local ateliers and artisan studios and purchase unique goods hand-made in Florence. The city is particularly famous for traditional crafts such as leather, straw, embroidery, textiles, and jewelry, resulting in the finest Made in Italy products.

Another must-visit store is Gherardi Gioielli. This jewellery opened in the 1920s, when the first store opened on Lungarno Acciaiuoli adjacent to the Ponte Vecchio. Since 1952, it has been situated on the Ponte Vecchio itself.

Last but not least, don’t miss out on Gioielleria Fallaci. They offer products that stay true to the Florentine goldsmith tradition while also incorporating modern techniques.

Every day Ponte Vecchio teems with life as it is a popular tourist spot and location for shopping–even if it is just window shopping. As you amble past the boutiques and take in the exquisite selection of commodities, remember that you are also standing on a miraculous structure that is beloved by the people of Florence. The bridge itself and shops inside hold fascinating stories, making for an all-around enchanting experience.

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