Ponte alle Grazie (Ponte simply meaning bridge) is the Bridge alle Grazie over the Arno River in Florence, Italy. It is the oldest and longest bridge in Florence and was originally built in the early 13th century. Almost 120 years later it was rebuilt with nine arches, and structures were built on the bridge similar as the ones that can still be seen on the Ponte Vecchio. However, to accommodate the railway tracks, those buildings that housed shops such as bakeries and millineries were removed from the bridge in the late eighteen hundreds.
Near the end of WWII in 1944, the German army destroyed the bridge as they withdrew from the area when the Allied forces were pushing forward. The bridge was such an important connecting point over the river that Florence decided to hold a competition for a replacement bridge. A group of four architects and an engineer won, and they were able to complete the new bridge in 1953. Although the new modern design features three arches supported by four slender pilings and it fits in well with the surroundings, it somehow lacks the gracious old styling. However it is well worth a visit when in Florence. Remember to arrange one of EasyToBook.com’s discount hotels close to the Bridge alle Grazie in Florence for a great stay just a stone’s throw away from this historically, architecturally and artistically filled district of the city.