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Swept away as driftwood, rebuilt in stone, ravaged by a storm tide and spared by Hitler: the medieval Ponte Vecchio has a turbulent history. During the Middle Ages, there was such a tremendous shortage of space that homes and shops were built on the bridge, which have survived through the centuries. And the secret passageway from Dan Brown’s ‘Inferno’ really exists.
Around 1,000 years ago, during the Roman Empire, a wooden bridge was built in the narrowest section of the Arno River. After being destroyed by flooding, the bridge was rebuilt twice, ultimately of stone. In 1345, the Ponte Vecchio was built as it stands today, making it the oldest segmented stone arch bridge in the world.
“The Medicis could walk from palace to palace via the Corridoio Vasariano without having to mingle with the commoners”