How many bridges does Florence have?
The city of Florence is filled with iconic symbols that represent it. One of the most well known is the beautiful Ponte Vecchio that crosses the Arno river. Although the other bridges in Florence are not as popular as their famed sibling, Florence actually has 6 bridges. Sadly, during the Second World War the Nazis bombed all of them except for one, Ponte Vecchio. The bridges were then reconstructed, some to look like they did before the bombings, others in a modern style. Let’s take a look at each of the bridges in Florence.
Ponte San Niccolo
This single-arched bridge in the outskirts of Florence is the only bridge that isn’t made up of numerous arches. As all the bridges, Ponte San Niccolo was bombarded during WWII, losing its original 19th century French structure. Before the bombings the bridge was constructed in metal but after the war, the bridge was reconstructed in more traditional building materials, making all of the bridges that cross the Arno river in harmony with one another.
Ponte Alle Grazie
Ponte alle Grazie was built by Messer Rubaconte da Mandella, mayor of Florence in 1237 when the bridge was designed. The bridge had originally eight arches, which were then reduced to six due to the narrowing of the river bed and then five due to the construction of the Lungarni. Although Ponte alle Grazie resisted against all floods, it was destroyed by German bombings in 1944. It was then rebuilt in the 1950s by Michelucci. At a certain point, the bridge was similar to Ponte Vecchio as it also had shops and even chapels!
Everyone has heard about the iconic Ponte Vecchio, the famed bridge that crosses the Arno River. The bridge that stood at its place was destroyed after a violent flood until in 1345 Ponte Vecchio was rebuilt. During the Second World War the German army destroyed all of Florence’s bridges, except this one (although they blocked access to the bridge by destroying the two medieval constructions at its sides). Apart from its historical background, the bridge is known for its jewelry and souvenir shops built on the sides of the bridge. It’s not just a symbol of Florence, for years it was also the only bridge to cross the Arno.
Ponte Santa Trinità
This bridge takes its name from the nearby church of St.Trinity and it’s situated between Ponte Vecchio and Ponte alla Carraia. The bridge was built in 1252 under the patronage of the Frescobaldi family, devastated numerous times and then rebuilt in 1567 by Amannati (some say even with the help of Michelangelo). Construction works lasted 10 years and it soon became one of the most elegant bridges in Europe. A marble cartouche is placed at the center of each arch, symbolizing the four seasons. Unfortunately, after the Nazi bombings in 1944, the head of the statue representing Spring was never found.
Ponte alla Carraia
Ponte Vecchio is known as “the old bridge” for being the oldest bridge in Firenze. Instead, Ponte alla Carraia is called “Ponte Nuovo” for being the second bridge to be built in Florence. Like all bridges in Florence, its design changed many times over the years. The present version of the bridge was designed in the 1560s by Amannati with the patronage of the Medici family. After the Nazi bombings during the Second World War, Ponte alla Carraia was rebuilt in the 1950s to resemble its previous version. However, the new five-arched bridge was nicknamed the “Ponte Gobbo” or “the hunchback bridge” for its more evident curvature!
Ponte Amerigo Vespucci
You’d think that a bridge named after one of the greatest explorers of the world would look completely different from its actual structure. Unlike other bridges in Florence, Ponte Amerigo Vespucci was built in the 1950s with a modern design, connecting the historical center to the San Frediano area. As all other bridges had been destroyed by Nazi bombings, they built this bridge in occasion of 500 years from the birth of Amerigo Vespucci.