The Ponte Vecchio (open to pedestrians only) was the only bridge over the Arno until 1218.
The present bridge of three arches was reconstructed after a flood in 1345 probably by Taddeo Gaddi. By the thirteenth century there were wooden shops on the bridge. These were caught fire and consequently were built of stone.
The Ponte Vecchio was originally favoured by butchers and tanners; as the latter trade involved soaking the hides in the Arno for eight months, then curing them in horse urine, the bridge was a pretty smelly place.
Grand Duke Ferdinando I evicted them in 1593 and permit only jewellers and goldsmith on the bridge. They continue here the traditional skill of Florentine goldsmiths. Above the shops on the left side the round windows of Corridoio Vasariano can be seen. Cellini is celebrated by a bust in the centre of the bridge.
The Ponte Vecchio was the only one not mined by the retreating Nazis in 1944.