The only bridge in Florence to survive the second World War is the Ponte Vecchio - 'Old Bridge' in Italian. It dates from 1345 (although there had been previous bridges in that location since at least 996). It was a real thrill to see (albeit in minature) something very similar to what (Old) London Bridge - demolished in 1831 - would have looked like in the Medieval period, with rows of buildings on either side.
|The Ponte Vecchio, Florence (April 2013)|
London Bridge (1616) by Claes Van Visscher
|Ponte Vecchio, from 'Golden View' on the South Bank|
|Early morning on the Ponte Vecchio|
|Jewellry shops on the Ponte Vecchio|
The Medici family also built a 'secret' walkway across the upper part of the bridge for their own private use, known as the Vasari Corridor (the upper storey is visible in the photograph below), connecting the Uffizi on the north bank to the Pitti Palace on the south bank.
|The Vasari Corridor|
The Ponte Vecchio was built just before the major outbreak of The Plague - known as the Black Death, which killed between a third and a half of Florence's total population in 1348, a similar proportion to the death toll when the Plague reached London later the same year. Many of the plague burials in London were in the Charter House - the site of which forms part of the Cross Rail archaeological excavation by the Museum of London. This location is on the route of our Wednesday morning walk - Historic Smithfield, Clerkenwell and Holborn.
PLEASE NOTE - Due to the security measures relating to the funeral of Lady Thatcher on Wednesday 17th April, we will not be able to offer either of our usual Wednesday walks on that date - back to normal on 24th April . (The Thursday and Friday walks will be available as usual on 18th and 19th April)