The Ponte Vecchio (Italian for Old Bridge) is the most famous bridge in Florence, Italy.
It is also the oldest, this structure with three stone arches replaced a wooden bridge which had crossed the Arno River at this spot since Roman times.
The upper side of the bridge, known as the Vasariano corridor, was designed by Vasari to link the Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery to the Pitti Palace; today it is an art gallery.
The bridge is inhabited. Originally the sides held food shops but by the end of the 15th century the shops were assigned to goldsmiths and silversmiths. An opening midway across the bridge offers views of the river and shore.
It is said that the economic concept of bankruptcy originated here: when a merchant could not pay his debts, the table on which he sold his wares (the “banco”) was physically broken (“rotto”) by soldiers, and this practice was called “bancorotto” (broken table; possibly it can come from “banca rotta” which means “broken bank”). Not having a table anymore, the merchant was not able to sell anything.
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