This morning we meet our guide for a cultural tour of Florence.
Italian people are renown for walking, walking, walking, they walk all day and then go out walking each night. They dress up and walk arm in arm, promenading, smiling and chatting with friends along the way. A lovely way to conclude the day.
We have done so much walking sometimes our smiles are through gritted teeth as we are walking and carrying a lot of art gear. But how could you complain in such a stunning city.
We head along the River Arno in the direction of the Ponte Veccio, I cannot wait for the first glimpse of the famous bridge.
We all have to stop to take a photo of the beautiful reflections in the River Arno.
The Ponte Vecchio is the oldest bridge in Florence. It is believed that a bridge already existed here during the Roman times. Its current appearance dates back to 1345 when it was built to replace a bridge which was destroyed by a flood. Houses were built on the bridge, a common practice in large European cities during the Middle Ages.
The Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge in Florence that survived the Second World War unscathed.
It is thought that the bridge was unharmed because Hitler had a special visit and tour of the area before the second world war and he may have been instrumental in saving the bridge.
We arrived at the Ponte Veccio early to watch the jewellery store holders open up their shops for the day. These huge wooden shutters lifted up to reveal the beautiful jewellery inside.
In the 16th century, the Duke of Florence Cosimo I de’ Medici decided to build a corridor to connect the Uffizi with the Pitti Palace across the Arno River, so that he would not need to walk across the always crowded bridge while commuting between his residences. The corridor, locally known as the Corridoio Vasariano after its creator Giorgio Vasari, was built in 1565 on top of the shops on the bridge.
On the south side of the bridge the corridor wraps around the Manelli Tower. The owners of the tower, which was originally built to defend the bridge, refused to demolish the tower to make way for the corridor, so Vascari saw no other option than to build around it. Apparently this family mysteriously disappeared and were never seen again.
I still have not seen David yet!