Saturday, May 21, 2011

Chan Brothers 12 Days Europe Tour- Ponte Vecchio (Day 4)-Part 2

After visiting the grand Basilica, our tour group headed to visit Ponte Vecchio. Ponte Vecchio. The Ponte Vecchio ("Old Bridge") is a medieval bridge over the Arno River in Florence, Italy, famous for still having shops built along it, as was common. 

At the heart of Ponte Vecchio, we saw a statue of Benvenuto Cellini who was an Italian goldsmith, sculptor, painter, soldier and musician, and he also wrote a famous autobiography. He was one of the most important artists of Mannerism. But the tour group was more interested in the splendid views of the Arno River around the statue as well as the Lovers' Locks around the statue.

Legend has it that if you and your loved one attach a padlock to any surface of the famous bridge and then throw away the key into the Arno River below, your love will last forever. Millions of couples have come to the Ponte Vecchio for expressly this reason, to lock in their love and throw away the key for eternity.

The practice of locking padlocks to the Ponte Vecchio was probably started by a locksmith who held shop at the foot of the bridge, in an effort to raise his revenue. The Ponte Vecchio has always been a bridge for merchants from the very beginning, with tables lining the bridge instead of the chic shops that many tourists enjoy today.

These days, however, it is not advisable for tourists to come flocking to the famous bridge and become part of the famous legend. At some point, the overabundance of padlocks gave the bridge a gaudy appearance and the government had to resort to removing these excessive padlocks, and for a time continued to keep on removing them, as they kept multiplying at will.

The majestic view of the Arno River from Ponte Vecchio!

After the admiration of the grand scenery, our tour group proceeded to the various historic government admin buildings around the area as well as the
Uffizi Gallery, one of the oldest and most famous art museums of the Western world.We saw some artists waiting for customers patiently to paint their self-portraits. The government buildings have been converted into museums too. Next we headed to the last stop of the city tour: Piazza della Signoria!