Originally, this world famous Bridge was built to allow access over the widest part of the Arno. Throughout history the bridge has been rebuilt and restored many times. Destroyed in 1117 by a flood, the bridge was rebuilt in stone only to be devastated again in 1332 by a fire.

Due to the enormous amount of traffic crossing over the bridge, many artisans and merchants decided to set up shop on the bridge itself. The first merchants were: blacksmiths, butchers, and tanners.
After 1348, the Medici family moved into Florence bringing with them vast wealth as appreciation for the finer things in life. When they acknowledged the use of the Arno by the merchants led to a grave degree of pollution of its waters, they decided to replace them with goldsmiths and artists and soon the number of shops greatly increased.

Florence grew rapidly due to this increase of trade.
Ponte Vecchio, a precious piece of architecture as well as history, is the only bridge which survived the perils of World War II and the massive flood of 1966.