She’s on the A-list of bridges, up there with Brooklyn, Tower, Sighs and Golden Gate. Most visitors to Florence will find themselves at some point crossing, photographing, admiring or cursing the Ponte Vecchio (the latter due to the amount of elbowing needed to get through the crowds). After more than 800 years of existence it’s just as hustling and bustling as it was when sixteenth-century butchers occupied the shops that line her deck. But the Ponte Vecchio isn’t just host to throngs of tourists, she’s a “trade” bridge, home over the centuries to varying professions and, since the Medici, has held the gold, silver and metalsmiths of Florence in her loving arms. A bridge, or crossing, has existed at the narrowest point of the Arno since Roman times. Part of the via Cassia, the ancient Roman road that passed through Arezzo, Florence and Pistoia before reaching modern-day Liguria, the traverse has always been a practical tool for movement within the city. Until the thirteenth century it was the only way to cross the Arno and shops didn’t spring up until the fourteenth century, when due to the flux of traffic, human and otherwise, it was the perfect spot for selling one’s wares. Its modern-day appearance was adopted after the 1333 flood when it was largely damaged like the Ponte alla Carraia bridge and was rebuilt, probably designed by the Dominican friars of Santa Maria Novella, who were known experts in building large vaults.