The Ponte Vecchio (translated "Old Bridge"), is Florence's oldest bridge. During WWII when Hitler retreated Florence in 1944, he destroyed all of the city's bridges except this one, supposedly because of it's beauty (not that it stopped him from destroying plenty of other beautiful people and things, but that would be for another blog post). The bridge has jewelry shops built into either side of it lining the road, so as you are walking across it, you hardly realize that you are actually over water.
At a point in the center is a place between buildings where you can stop to admire the view, and is a popular spot for tourists to snap photos.
According to our Florence guide book, the bridge used to house the shops of blacksmiths, butchers and tanners, but in 1593 a member of the Medici family (hugely powerful family who basically ran Florence during the Italian Renaissance) became annoyed at the stench and noise every time he had to cross the bridge. He cleared out all of the "dirtiness", and moved jewelers and goldsmiths into the shops instead. According to tradition, only jewelers and goldsmiths occupy these spaces to this day.
For all of these and more photos, go to the photo set: Ponte Vecchio.
Next post: A rock and roll show in Prato.