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The Ponte Vecchio ("Old Bridge") is a Medieval stone closed-spandrel segmental arch bridge over the Arno River, in Florence, Italy, noted for still having shops built along it, as was once common. Butchers initially occupied the shops; the present tenants are jewellers, art dealers and souvenir sellers. The Ponte Vecchio's two neighbouring bridges are the Ponte Santa Trinita and the Ponte alle Grazie.
The bridge spans the Arno at its narrowest point where it is believed
that a bridge was first built in Roman times. The Roman piers were of
stone, the superstructure of wood. The bridge first appears in a
document of 996. After being destroyed by a flood in 1117 it was
reconstructed in stone but swept away again in 1333 save two of its
central piers. It was rebuilt in 1345.
During World War II, the Ponte Vecchio was not destroyed by Germans during their retreat of August 4, 1944, unlike all other bridges in Florence.