The Ponte Vecchio is a medieval stone closed-spandrel segmental arch bridge over the Arno River, in Florence, Italy. It is noted for the shops built along it, as was once common. Butchers, tanners, and farmers initially occupied the shops; the present tenants are jewelers, art dealers, and souvenir sellers. The Ponte Vecchio's two neighboring bridges are the Ponte Santa Trinita and the Ponte alle Grazie.
The bridge spans the Arno at its narrowest point where it is believed that a bridge was first built in Roman times, when the via Cassia crossed the river at this point. The Roman piers were of stone, the superstructure of wood. The bridge first appears in a document of 996 and was destroyed by a flood in 1117 and reconstructed in stone. In 1218 the Ponte alla Carraia, a wooden structure, was established nearby which led to it being referred to as "Ponte Nuovo" relative to the older structure. It was swept away again in 1333 except for two of its central piers, as noted by Giovanni Villani in his Nuova Cronica. It was rebuilt in 1345.
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Firenze, Firenze, Italy