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Ponte Vecchio, Florence


The Ponte Vecchio is a Medieval bridge over the Arno River, in Florence, Italy, noted for having shops (mainly jewellers) built along it. It is Europe's oldest wholly-stone, open-spandrel segmental arch bridge.

Believed to have been first built in Roman times, it was originally made of wood. After being destroyed by a flood in 1333 it was rebuilt in 1345, this time in stone. Most of the design is attributed to Taddeo Gaddi. It has always hosted shops and merchants (legend says this was originally due to a tax exemption), which displayed their goods on tables after authorisation of the Bargello (a sort of a lord mayor, a magistrate and a police authority).

It is said that the economic concept of bankruptcy originated here: when a merchant could not pay his debts, the table on which he sold his wares (the "banco") was physically broken ("rotto") by soldiers, and this practice was called "bancorotto"

This article is licensed from Wikipedia under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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