The Ponte Vecchio is about to be restored comprehensively for the first time in its 677-year history.
Despite being structurally sound, the bridge is showing signs of its age-old exposure to the elements and the constant flow of the River Arno.
A floating platform has been set up with the scaffolding required to carry out the necessary pre-restoration surveys, install a year-long monitoring system and take samples of the materials. The jetty is expected to remain in place for about three weeks, moving from one span to the next while being secured by two concrete cubes next to the left bank and four 70-kilogram anchors.
The restoration will focus specifically on removing weeds before consolidating the damaged stones and reconstructing any missing parts. Special attention will be paid to the coats of arms and mouldings as well as the wooden piles that support the jewellery stores on the bridge. To finish, the surface stones on the bridge will be secured in place and given a protective coat of sealant to prevent the rain from seeping into the structure.
“This has never been done before,” explained Dario Nardella, Mayor of Florence. “Over the centuries, the bridge has undergone various changes and consolidations, the most recent after the 1966 flood, but no restoration has ever focused on the stones and decorations. Now the time has come for a restyling, due to a major investment by the city council, which will return a fully restored and enhanced heritage site to Florence and the world.”