The Arno River, Florence
The Arno is a river in Tuscany, Italy. The river begins in the Apennines mountains and flows into the Tyrrhenian Sea near Pisa. The Arno runs through Firenze (Florence) and is both the largest and most important river in the region, at 149 miles in length.
The Arno has flooded many times over the years, the most famous and recent flood taking place in November 1966. You can learn more here and see some pictures of the event here and here. Forty people lost their lives that day and equally important, millions of antique rare books and works of art were destroyed as well. Even the Duomo flooded and the famous bronze Baptistry doors were damaged. Since that time, some damns have been built to help avoid further flooding.
The flow of the Arno can be very irregular. It is reported that it can go from almost dry to flooding conditions in just a few days. Though, the day we were there, the water was pretty calm as the crew team was practicing right on the river.
Hmm, maybe that Italian passion for life, art and culture in Florence can flow right into the river and influence the river’s conditions? Sounds plausible.
The Ponte Vecchio, or the Old Bridge, is a Medieval bridge that crosses the Arno in Florence. The bridge was constructed of wood by Romans, but a flood in the 1300’s destroyed it, so it was rebuilt using stone, which proved to stand the test of time.
This unique bridge is lined with old buildings that were originally inhabited by butchers. The butchers have come and gone and now jewelery, art and souvenir shops occupy the shops.
So, if you find yourself in Florence, make sure you go for a little passeggiata across the Ponte Vecchio, drink in the view of the Arno at sunset, buy yourself a little Italian gold bauble, and don’t forget to to treat yourself to a scoop of all that’s good and holy (yeah, the stuff is that good) at the gelateria at the end of the bridge.