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Ponte Vecchio

The 'Old Bridge' over the river Arno is famous for its traditional jewellery shops and art dealers.

TravelCurious Tip

Come by day to shop, but come by night to admire the city lights reflecting off the river

Ponte Vecchio means ‘Old Bridge’, and it’s a deserved name: this structure dates back to 1345. It’s the oldest bridge in Florence — the only one to escape destruction as German forces retreated in 1944.


This bridge spans the Arno river at its narrowest point, but in fact scarcely looks like a bridge at all. Compared to the light and airy metallic structures of today, the Ponte Vecchio is pleasingly sturdy. Made of stone and wood, it is crowded with overhanging shops. It is not simply simple a way to get from A to B, but rather a road, market place and piazza all rolled into one.


Diamond in the Rough

The bridge is packed with jewellers’ shops, and has been since the 16th century when Ferdinando I de’ Medici sent them in as a more agreeable replacement for the malodorous butchers and fishmongers, who used to throw their putrid leftovers straight into the river. Florence was becoming a great centre of Renaissance culture, and they had to keep up appearances.


Highway

The Vasari Corridor is a covered passageway which runs above the shops on Ponte Vecchio. Cosimo I commissioned it to connect the Uffizi with the Pitt Palace, his humble abode across the river. When the Germans were retreating, only the bridge’s access points to the city were destroyed — in fact, the Vasari Corridor was, for a time, the only way to get from one side of the river to the other, short of having a boat.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Florence
Palazzo Vecchio
The city’s magnificent town hall was first built in 1299, and has seen many different names and uses over its history.
Loggia dei Lanzi
Beloved since the 14th century for its superb arches, the Loggia is today an open-air museum of Renaissance sculpture.
Piazza della Signoria
Overlooked by the imposing Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia dei Lanzi, this square is one of the city’s focal points.
Uffizi Gallery
A magnificent 16th century building housing one of the world's foremost collections of Primitive and Renaissance art.
Palazzo Pitti
A vast 15th century palace commissioned by the ambitious Florentine banker Luca Pitti, housing an important collection of Renaissance paintings.
Santo Spirito
This basilica boasts some of the best in Renaissance interior design, courtesy of Brunelleschi.

Related Tours

Private Walking Tour: Culture & Architecture inc Santa Maria Del Fiore Tickets
This 6-hour walking tour is perfect for art enthusiasts and culture vultures, giving you the knowledge and time to explore Florence with a local, professional expert. . 

  • Commence your tour at the Piazza del Duomo
  • Explore the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and the Baptistry of St John
  • Walk past the unique Duomo
  • Visit the antique Florentine Quarter
  • Pay a visit to Piazza della Signoria, passing the Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia dei Lanzi
  • Pass by the much celebrated Uffizi Gallery, home to an impressive collection of Renaissance art
  • Cross over the Ponte Vecchio, towards Palazzo Pitti
  • Enjoy a short stop at the Church of Santo Spirito
  • Conclude at the Quarter of Santa Croce
You will begin this fabulous walking tour of Florence by visiting the Piazza del Duomo where you will explore the superb Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and the Baptistry of St John. You will venture inside the unique Duomo- famous for Brunelleschi’s Dome, which took 140 years to complete. Look out for the octagonal Baptistry, built over 70 years and named after the Saint Protector of Florence- San Giovanni. 

Antique Florentine Quarter

Your next stop will be to the antique Florentine Quarter where the talented Dante Alighieri used to live. You will pay a visit to Piazza della Signoria, where you may find yourself captivated by the Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia dei Lanzi. Originally the seat of power for the ruling elite of the Republic of Florence, the Palazzo Vecchio is now the town hall and a symbol of the Tuscan capital. Builtin the 14th century, the charming Loggia dei Lanzi is a masterpiece of Florentine Renaissance architecture and now hosts remarkable Renaissance sculptures.

A short walk on and you will also pass the celebrated Uffizi Gallery, home to some wonderful creations by the Italian Renaissance greats of Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and many others. The world-famous medieval bridge Ponte Vecchio is well worth a visit with its many quaint craft shops selling small souvenirs, lovely jewellery and beautiful paintings. 

Renaissance Florence 

After crossing the Ponte Vecchio you will have the opportunity to stroll by the 15th century Palazzo Pitti, which always hosts several museums and rotating exhibitions.  Its sublime Boboli Gardens are some of the grandest open-air museums Italy has to offer, boasting wonderful sculptures, picturesque fountains and magical grottos.

Your tour also includes a quick visit to the Church of Santo Spirito. Initially drafted by the immensely talented Brunelleschi; it was finally completed years after his death in the late 15th century. You will complete your journey with a short stroll around the Quarter of Santa Croce, which takes its name from the scenic church of Santa Croce, the largest Franciscan church in the world.
Private Walking Tour of Michelangelo’s Florence inc Tickets to Galleria dell’ Accademia
This full-day tour of Florence's Renaissance artwork and architecture is a must for all culture vultures. 

  • Commence your tour at the Piazza del Duomo 
  • Pass the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and the Baptistery of St John
  • Walk towards the antique Florentine Quarter 
  • Learn about Italy's political elite at the Palazzo Vecchio 
  • Pass the Uffizi Gallery, and cross over the Ponte Vecchio (medieval bridge)
  • Conclude your tour at the Galleria dell’ Accademia 
  • Learn about Renaissance artwork, and skip-the-line to see Michelangelo’s David
Discover the highlights of Florence and follow an expert and entertaining guide to the most significant places through the historical center and learn about the amazing history of the city from the time it was the capital of Renaissance to the time it became the capital of early unified Italy.

Start your experience touring the religious center of the city: admire the Duomo, whose impressive Dome was designed by Brunelleschi, and the Baptistery of Saint John, one of the oldest buildings in Florence.

From the religious center, you will walk to the political center, and enjoy a pleasant stroll through Piazza della Signoria, surrounded by its ancient buildings and the Loggia dei Lanzi. In this open air museum we will see original masterpieces by Giambologna and Cellini. From there, you'll cross the famous Ponte Vecchio, the medieval bridge on the Arno River, we will end this tour in the prestigious Accademia Gallery, where, at your own pace, we will explore stunning artwork, including Michelangelo's David.
The Beauty and Craft of Florence - Private Walking Tour inc Tickets
Explore the finest Renaissance architecture and experience authentic Italian leather on this 3-hour craft tour.

  • Commence your tour at the antique Florentine Quarter 
  • Pass by the much-celebrated Uffizi Gallery, home to much Renaissance art
  • Cross over the Ponte Vecchio, towards Palazzo Pitti
  • Enjoy a short stop at the Church of Santo Spirito
  • Visit the incredible Leather School of Florence 
  • Conclude at Mannina, a family-owned Florentine cobbler 
Antique Florentine Quarter
What better place to start than the antique Florentine Quarter where the talented Dante Alighieri used to live? You will pay a visit to Piazza Della Signoria, where you can not help but be captivated by the Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia Dei Lanzi. Originally the seat of power for the ruling elite of the Republic of Florence, the Palazzo Vecchio is now the town hall and a symbol of the Tuscan capital. Built back in the 14th century, the charming Loggia dei Lanzi is a masterpiece of Florentine Renaissance architecture and now hosts remarkable Renaissance sculptures.

A short walk on and you will also pass the celebrated Uffizi Gallery, home to some wonderful creations by the Italian Renaissance greats of Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and many others. The world-famous medieval bridge Ponte Vecchio is well worth a visit with its many quaint craft shops selling small souvenirs, lovely jewellery, and beautiful paintings. 

Renaissance Florence 

Your tour also includes a quick visit to the Church of Santo Spirito. Initially drafted by the immensely talented Brunelleschi; it was finally completed years after his death in the late 15th century. You will complete your journey with a short stroll around the Quarter of Santa Croce, taking its name from the scenic church of Santa Croce, the largest Franciscan church in the world.

Authentic Italian Craft

Visit the Leather School of Florence which was created after World War II by Franciscan friars of the Monastery of Santa Croce with the mission of teaching orphans of the war a practical trade with which to earn a living. You will also have the opportunity to visit Mannina, a family-owned Florentine cobbler that are still using traditional shoemaking techniques. 
Dan Brown Inferno Tour
Experience Florence just as Robert Langdon and his lovely assistant Sienna Brooks did in Dan Brown’s hit novel Inferno. Explore the fascinating religious and art history this fantastic city has to offer, all with the help of your expert city guide. 

  • Commence your quest in the Boboli Gardens, as Langdon and Sienna did 
  • Sneak your way through secret passageways at the Palazzo Vecchio 
  • Explore Dante's Quarter, including Dante's childhood home and  Santa Margherita dei Cerchi
  • Visit the magnificent Baptistery of St. John
  • Look for clues on the glistening Gates of Paradise 


Bobili Gardens 
Your first destination will be where Langdon and Sienna, start their quest: in the Boboli Gardens, a beautiful renaissance park filled with sculptures, fountains, flowers, tree-lined walkways, and hidden grottoes. From here you will venture on to the Palazzo Vecchio where Langdon and Sienna sneak their way through secret passageways and climb ceiling rafters. 

Dante’s Quarter (the House and Church of Dante)
A short walk will take you on Via Dante Alighieri and right in the midst of Dante’s neighborhood. Langdon heads to the museum gift shop of Dante’s childhood home looking for a copy of Inferno, only to find it closed. He then makes his way to Dante’s church, Santa Margherita dei Cerchi. This beautiful church dates as far back as 1032, and legend has it it’s here where Dante first spied his true love, Beatrice. 

Baptistery of St. John
You will then head over to the ivory-white Baptistry of St. John, one of Florence’s oldest buildings and most magnificent. This is where Langdon finally puts two and two together thanks to the clue: “I [Dante] shall return…at my baptismal font”, and pays a visit to the beautiful font centerpiece. 

You will then look for clues on the glistening Gates of Paradise, that flank the exterior of the Baptistery. These gates comprising quatrefoils with twenty scenes from the life of John the Baptist, are well worth your attention and will be a great talking point among you and your expert city guide.

Travel Curious Tip: Re-read your copy of Inferno before the tour!

We built this tour because it invites travellers, who are also fans of Dan Brown, to have an authentic experience in the heart of Florence.
The Best of Renaissance Florence Private Walking Tour inc Uffizi Tickets
Take a step back in time to stand in awe of Italy's iconic artists and brilliant thinkers. 

  • Commence your tour at the Piazza del Duomo
  • Explore the Baptistery of Saint John, one of the oldest buildings in Florence
  • Pay a visit to Piazza della Signoria, passing the Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia dei Lanzi
  • Cross over the famous Ponte Vecchio (medieval bridge) 
  • Conclude at the iconic Uffizi Gallery- a stunning space filled with Renaissance masterpieces, deeply ingrained in the history and culture of the city
Located in the very heart of Tuscany, in a basin crossed by the Arno River, the magnificent city of Florence stands as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, filled with historical relics and artistic masterpieces by the greatest masters of Humanism and the Renaissance. You can read it in Dante, see it in Michelangelo, or just be engulfed by it when you walk into a church. 

This city tour highlights key Renaissance sites and masterpieces, starting with the religious centre of the city where you'll admire the Duomo and its impressive Dome designed by Brunelleschi, and the Baptistery of Saint John, one of the oldest buildings in Florence. From the religious centre you will walk to the political centre, and enjoy a pleasant stroll through Piazza della Signoria, surrounded by its ancient buildings and the Loggia dei Lanzi. In this open air museum you will see original masterpieces by Giambologna and Cellini. From there, you'll cross the famous Ponte Vecchio, the medieval bridge on the Arno River. As a final pendant to this itinerary, you’ll visit the impressive Uffizi Gallery, one of the largest museums in the Western world, holding over 3,000 works of notable art. The Museum complex is deeply bound to the history of the city and the House of Medici, and echoes the splendor of a whole era. Masterpieces by Giotto, Masaccio, Piero della Francesca and Botticelli are waiting for you, along with the most recent Caravaggio, Tiziano and Tintoretto and the stunning Leonardo da Vinci’s Annunciation and Adoration of the Magi.
Private Walking Tour of Florence By Night
The soft, golden sunset over Tuscan hills bathes Florence in an ethereal blush-shade halo, and the changing colours of the sky add an otherworldly beauty to the city.  On your Private Walking Tour of Florence by Night: 
 
  • See the Florentine skyline from a fresh perspective, lit by starlight and flickering lamps.
  • Admire the ecclesiastical splendour of the Baptistery of St. John and Florence Cathedral.
  • Soak up the magical twilight ambience gazing at the Palazzo Vecchio’s impressive Arnolfo Tower.
  • Watch the slow-moving silvery Arno River under a night sky from the Ponte Vecchio.
  • Sightsee illuminated historical buildings such as Casa Buonarroti and the Uffizi Gallery.  
  • Stroll a riddle of lamp-lit backstreets to see Torre della Castagna - one of the city's ancient towers lit against the dark of night. 
On your Private Tour of Florence By Night, soak up the night's eye view of the city, from Florence’s riddle of beguiling backstreets and hear the mysterious stories to the candle-lit mellow sounds of a Gregorian chant. At night the ecclesiastical splendour of octagonal Baptistery of St. John is magnificent, a quality shared by the illuminated gothic spires of Florence Cathedral and the Campanile di Giotto on the spectacular Piazza del Duomo. Soaring high above surrounding buildings in the city,  Arnolfo Tower gazes across centuries of history dating back to medieval times from the legacy of the illustrious Medici family to the famed artistic works by the world’s great masters, many of which celebrate the hues of sunset. Monuments city-wide, churches and Florence’s most striking facades are beautifully lit at twilight, providing a stark contrast to monochromatic pavements.  A diffused orange glow of street lamps brings fresh identity to the city, showcasing centuries-old palaces and neatly-paved plazas with extra magic - even Michelangelo's statue David in Piazza della Signoria shines after dark. 

 As the sky begins to darken, a play of moonlight bathes the Arno River in a white-silver glow. Framed by a silhouette of trees Florence’s rows of illuminated buildings dazzle under a sky of twinkling stars.  Pause on the Ponte Vecchio, the city’s oldest bridge, to watch as shimmering reflections cast their shadows, and wander onward to the handsome gilt and stucco of the Uffizi Gallery - illuminated in the otherwise still neighbourhood. Then see Florence’s predominant Franciscan church Chiesa Santa Croce, one of the largest in the world. Lastly,  stroll past Casa Buonarroti, once Michelangelo’s home and now a museum in his honour, opposite 13th century Torre della Castagna.  
Dark Florence Live Virtual Tour
On this Live Virtual Tour, we will take you to Florence,  famous for its Renaissance history and splendour, which hides a widely unknown dark past.

On this Private "Dark Florence Live Virtual Tour", you will:

  • hear tales of forbidden love affairs, terrible murders, and restless ghosts.
  • Pass by historical private palaces and treacherous stories of well-known spots, like Ponte Vecchio 
  • See the Duomo and learn about its rich history
  • Learn about the last member of the Medici family and the scandals around the family's lengthy lineage
Also known as Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, the Duomo was started in 1296 to a design of Arnolfo di Cambio and which was completed by 1436, with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi. This monumental church served as the scenario for a ruthless conspiracy against the most powerful family in town: the Medicis.

Following the steps of condemned prisoners, you will then arrive at Piazza Signoria, where you will discover how
sometimes even Palazzo Vecchio, the main seat of the government, served as gallows.

At the riverside, with the iconic Ponte Vecchio in the background, your tour will end with a bang: the
scandalous life of Giangastone, the last member of the Medici family. As you stroll through Florence, your guide will cover the city's hidden paths and murky past starting from Piazza Santissima Annunziata, where the saddest love story of Florence took place, ending at the famous Ponte Vecchio.

Best of Florence Live Virtual Tour
On this Live Virtual Tour, we will take you to the Renaissance city of Florence,  a city celebrated for its architecture, art, culture and politics. On your private virtual tour:

  • Your guide will take you to see the church of San Lorenzo where the great Medici’s mausoleum can be found; 
  • Visit the Piazza del Duomo, with its imposing Cathedral and its huge dome. 
  • Hear the story of the Duomo's construction that lasted centuries and you’ll pass the Medieval area where we’ll hear about the lifestyle of that time and its typical houses: the towers.
  • See Piazza Della Signoria, the political centre of Florence, one of the most famous squares considered a real open door museum. You will find here the government's palace, Palazzo Vecchio and one of the copies of Michelangelo's David.
  • Cross crossing the Uffizi courtyard, you will see the offices of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
This 'Best of Florence Live Virtual Tour' will start at the Medici Palace, a residence that belonged to the Medici Family, the most important dynasties in the history of Florence. They ruled the city for three centuries and during their time, Florence became the most powerful city of the 1400s. 

As you stroll through the Renaissance city of Florence, you will stroll past the city's iconic landmarks and palaces. Your last stop on the tour will be the famous bridge the Ponte Vecchio which is flanked by jewellers and goldsmiths.

Best of Florence at Night Virtual Tour
On this Live Night Virtual Tour, we will take you to the Renaissance city of Florence,  a city celebrated for its architecture, art, culture and politics. On your tour:

  • Your guide will take you to see the church of San Lorenzo where the great Medici’s mausoleum can be found
  • Visit the Piazza del Duomo, with its imposing Cathedral and its huge dome. 
  • Hear the story of its construction that lasted centuries and you’ll pass the Medieval area where we’ll hear about the lifestyle of that time and its typical houses: the towers.
  •  Reach Piazza Della Signoria, the political centre of Florence, one of the most famous squares considered a real open door museum. You will find here the government's palace, Palazzo Vecchio and one of the copies of Michelangelo's David.
  • After crossing the Uffizi courtyard, you will see the offices of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
  • Your last stop on the tour will be the famous bridge the Ponte Vecchio, your guide will explain why they are all there.
This 'Best of Florence at Night Virtual Tour' will start at the Medici Palace, a residence that belonged to the Medici Family, the most important dynasties in the history of Florence. They ruled the city for three centuries and during their time, Florence became the most powerful city of the 1400s.

As you stroll through the Renaissance city of Florence, you will stroll past the city's iconic landmarks and palaces. Your last stop on the tour will be the famous bridge the Ponte Vecchio which is flanked by jewellers and goldsmiths.

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