• Old Bridge

The Ponte Vecchio is one of the symbols of the city of Florence and one of the most famous bridges in the world. It crosses the river Arno just downstream of the area where the river naturally presents the narrowest river bed within the city of Florence in its stretch upstream of the Cascine. The area in question is to the Canottieri under the Uffizi. In antiquity there was a ford .
The Ponte Vecchio is composed of three wide lowered arches (height / width ratio 1: 6); for the first time in the West the Roman model was passed which provided for the exclusive use of round-shaped (semicircular arches) which in the case of a very long bridge required a large number of arches, thus creating potential hazards in the event of flooding (due to the easy obstruction of narrow crossings) or a very marked slope, an equally undesirable solution (typical cases: Ponte della Maddalena , at Borgo a Mozzano , the Ponte Fabricio , to Rome ). The example made school, with a similar lowered arcade it was built in the XVI century the Rialto Bridge to Venice and many others. The Alconétar bridge , in Spain , offers a much older example of the use of lowered arc crossings, but can not avoid the problem of clogging the river bed with the stacks of arch support, since it is a bridge with numerous small crossings, similar to the traditional bridges with round arches.
Another typical feature, much more evident to the tourist but less revolutionary, is the passage flanked by two rows of artisan shops, obtained in ancient arcades then closed, which made it famous, as if it were the continuation of the road. The Ponte Vecchio shops all overlook the central passage, each with a single window closed by thick wooden doors, and often have a back room built to emboss on the river and supported by corbels (or "sporti").
At the four corners of the bridge there were as many towers that controlled access: of these only the tower of the Mannelli remains, while the Rossi-Cerchi tower was rebuilt after the explosions of < 956> 1944 .