Friday, July 29, 2016

Italy Blog #31 - Florence: 3 Cool Bridges: Elevated, Ancient and Rebuilt 5 Times

The elevated Vezzari Corridor
In this 31st Italy blog, we're still exploring Florence and we're going to take you to 3 really cool bridges with meaning and history. They include an Elevated, Ancient and 5 Times Rebuilt!

THE VEZZARI CORRIDOR - The Vasari Corridor is an elevated enclosed passageway in Florence, central Italy, which connects the Palazzo Vecchio with the Palazzo Pitti. It runs along one bank of the Arno River. It is closed to the public.
  You can walk underneath the corridor along a stone pathway lined by the arches that support the corridor. 

The Ponte Vecchio Bridge from the River Arno
WHY BUILD AN ELEVATED CORRIDOR? - The Vasari Corridor was built in 5 months by order of Duke Cosimo I de' Medici (the second Duke of Florence from 1537 until 1569)  in 1565, to the design of Giorgio Vasari - thus, the name of it. The corridor was commissioned in connection with the marriage of Cosimo's son. The purpose was was because the Grand Duke wanted to move freely between his residence and the government palace without being interrupted by people on the street. The bridge also connects to the Uffizi Gallery 

View of the Arno river from one side of the Ponte Vecchio bridge

IN DAN BROWN'S BOOK "INFERNO" - This corridor was described in a scene from Dan Brown's fictional thriller "Inferno" where Robert Langdon broke onto the bridge with another person and used to ti escape from pursuers. 

THE PONTE VECCHIO BRIDGE - The Ponte Vecchio, meaning "Old Bridge"  is a Medieval stone closed-spandrel segmental arch bridge over the Arno River, in Florence, Italy, noted for still having shops built along it, as was once common.

There is one spot on the bridge that offers great views of the Arno River, so we stopped and took some pictures. 

Shops on Ponte Vecchio bridge
 AN ANCIENT BRIDGE! - According to (because I couldn't write down the history fast enough) This bridge was built close to the Roman crossing. Until 1218 it was the only bridge across the Arno. The current bridge was rebuilt after a flood in 1345!! 
  During World War II it was the only bridge across the Arno that the fleeing Germans did not destroy. Instead they blocked access by demolishing the medieval buildings on each side. On November 4, 1966, the bridge miraculously withstood the tremendous weight of water and silt when the Arno once again burst its banks.

FULL OF SHOPS (That Changed Over Time) -
This wide stone bridge actually supports stores and there are many shops on it. In fact, shops have operated on the bridge since the 1200s when the first bridge was built. However, initially the shops included butchers, fish sellers, and tanners - all of whose "industrial waste" caused an awful stink in the area. So, in 1593, Ferdinand I decreed that only goldsmiths and jewelers be allowed to have their shops on the bridge in order to improve the well-being of all, including their own as they walked over the bridge.Today it's filled with jewelers and goldsmiths.

The Ponte Santa Trinita Bridge from other side of Ponte Vecchio bridge
WHAT IS THE PONTE SANTA TRINITA BRIDGE?The Ponte Santa Trìnita (or "Holy Trinity Bridge") is a Renaissance bridge over the Arno River. It is the oldest elliptic arch bridge in the world, the three flattened ellipses giving the structure its celebrated elegant appearance.

REBUILDING MANY, MANY BROKEN BRIDGES - 1) The original wooden bridge of 1252 was swept away in a flood in 1259.
2) A stone bridge was then built only to be destroyed in a flood in 1333.
3) Another bridge of five arches was built by Taddeo Gaddi and that was destroyed in the flood of 1557!
4) A 4th bridge was constructed by the Florentine architect Bartolomeo Ammannati from 1567 to 1569.
That bridge was destroyed by retreating German troops in August 1944.
5) Finally, the bridge that stands today was reconstructed in 1958 with original stones raised from the Arno.


Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next