The most famous bridge in Florence is the Ponte Vecchio, or old bridge, dating from the mid-14th century. But just downstream from the Ponte Vecchio is another beautiful bridge, the favorite of many Florentines - the Ponte Santa Trinita.
There has been a bridge at the site of the Ponte Santa Trinita since 1252, but the Arno River’s frequent floods destroyed the original wooden bridge, the stone bridge that replaced it in the early 14th century, and yet another stone bridge in 1557. The next Ponte Santa Trinita was designed by Bartolomeo Ammanati (with a few tips thrown in by Michelangelo) and built from 1567-1569. It had three elliptical arches and statues representing the four seasons were added in 1608. Ammanati’s Ponte Santa Trinita stood firm until 1944.
Although Italy and Germany were allies during World War II, Nazi troops destroyed every single bridge in Florence spanning the Arno except for one - the Ponte Vecchio. The Ponte Santa Trinita was turned to rubble. When the bridge was rebuilt in 1958, some of the stones used were from Ammanati’s 16th century bridge, recovered from the Arno after the war. The rest of the stones were quarried from the same place Ammanati went to get stone in 1567. Even the statues of the four seasons were recovered from the river, although the statue of “Spring” remained headless until her head was found in the river in 1961.
The 13th century Ponte Santa Trinita figures prominently in a famous work by Dante, as it’s at one end of the bridge that he first sees Beatrice, who he would be in love with for the rest of his life, though he apparently only met her twice.