June 3rd, 2009
We ejected from Uffizi, took a left and right and landed back on the banks of Arno with a view of Ponte Vecchio.
The bridge that melted Hitler’s heart.
Hitler visited Uffizi in 1938. Vasari’s passage was thrown open for this rather important guest of Mussolini's. The bridge is said to have left such a lasting impression on the heartless fiend that when Wehrmacht was withdrawing in 1944, blowing everything in sight to impede the Allied troops, the Fuhrer issued a special order to spare Ponte Vecchio.
Build by the Roman, Arno has swept it away several times. In medieval times, the bridge was used by meat and vegetable vendors. in 1565, Cosimo I de’ Medici ordered Vasari to build a private passage that connected his place of residence – Pitti Palace, with his office – the Uffizi. The meat vendors were shooed away to to prevent the stale odor from emanating to the passage that ran above Ponte Vecchio. They were replaced by goldsmiths and silversmiths who occupy shops on the bridge even today.
The bridge is a constant hubbub of activity. From shy lovers surreptitiously (and now illegally) padlocking the old metal grillwork (as per an ancient ritual that supposedly promises longevity and immortality in love) to genuine jewelry buyers to tourists trying to get a better view of the Arno, the bridge always seems alive.
We crossed over to the north, found a place with a view to enjoy a hot bowl of Ribolitto.
[Next Michelangelo’s David]