by Joy Jones

Pont Vecchio

As jewelry and history are my work and passion, we made sure to schedule time to visit Ponte Vecchio aka the Gold Bridge, on our recent visit to Florence, Italy.

Gold Bridge

What a magical experience it was to walk across this historic bridge where for more than 425+ years, only goldsmiths and jewelers were allowed to work and sell their wares.

An enduring symbol of Florence, the Ponte Vecchio is the oldest bridge in Florence and was the only bridge across the Arno River until 1218.  The current bridge was rebuilt after a damaging flood in 1345 and during the reconstruction, 43 shops were built on the bridge and were rented to artists and merchants.

Cosimo de Medici

During the Renaissance period, Cosimo I de' Medici ordered a covered passageway to be built on the bridge, layered over the top of the shops, as a way for the Medici family to cross the river without coming in contact with the people they ruled over.

pont vecchio florence italy

There have been shops on the bridge since the 13th century, but by the 1400s the bridge was overwhelmed with butchers, fishmongers, tanners and other merchants who produced a lot of noise, unpleasant odors and waste.

Ferdinand de Medici

By 1593 Ferdinand I de' Medici, decided that only goldsmiths and jewelers were allowed to have shops on the bridge.  As Florence at this time was becoming a great center of Renaissance culture, the change created a must see destination for nobility and foreign visitors.

Florence Italy

Today, the Gold Bridge is known the world over for its characteristic wooden doorways and shop windows overflowing with jewels and gold.

It is a very romantic spot in Florence for an evening stroll or to take in the great views over the river and the bridge itself.  As you walk over the bridge, you can easily imagine those who also walked the bridge - such as DaVinci, Machiavelli, Galileo, Donatello and Michelangelo to name a few.

Gold Jewelry Italy

Pont Vecchio Gold

the golden bridge florence

The Gold Bridge Pont Vecchio

As I wandered past the shop windows dripping with golden treasures, I couldn't help but imagine what treasures these windows had displayed throughout the centuries, especially during the Renaissance through Georgian eras - the periods in time that most interest me for jewelry design and history.

italian gold earrings

My souvenir from Florence - 18K Italian Gold and Stardust Pave Hoop Earrings

The fact that this special place still exists, as it has for centuries, and is still used for selling gold and jewelry, was a very special moment for me and a memory I will treasure for a lifetime.



Joy Jones
Joy Jones

Author



1 Response

Beth Maniscalco
Beth Maniscalco

June 13, 2018

Joy, so enjoyable learning more about you and your love of jewelry over the ages.

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