Florence is the third most visited city in Italy after Venice and Rome. One of the most iconic visuals of Florence is the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge crossing the Arno River. Today we’re sharing fun facts and a photo gallery full of pictures that celebrate the beauty of the Arno River in Florence, Italy.
Arno River in Florence
Every time Paolo and I visit Florence, we use the exact same parking lot near Porta Romana just a few minutes by foot from the Arno River. Believe it or not, there are always free spots. Magic in a city is notoriously difficult to park in.
The best part about parking where we do is walking up Via Romana when all of a sudden an expansive view of Arno River opens up. It’s a moment that always takes my breath away. Of course, being there with Paolo the handsome Italian Photographer behind ALOR Italy (who also happens to be the love of my life) doesn’t hurt either.
Photos of the Arno River in Florence, Italy
The following photos capture jewel-tone colors of the Arno Rive in Florence, Italy that have captivated artists for centuries.
Today’s Pictures of Italy gallery captures the near paradisiacal tranquility of the river. Yet the glassy surface belies a current that sweeps both water and destruction under the bridge.
10 Arno River Fun Facts
- At 241 km (150 mi) long, The Arno River is the eighth longest in Italy.
- The Arno River flows from the Apennines to the Ligurian Sea below Pisa.
- The Ponte Vecchio bridge was the only bridge across the Arno River in Florence until 1218.
- The famous bridge crossing the Arno River is the Ponte Vecchio bridge, meaning the old bridge in English.
- The current Ponte Vecchio Bridge was finished in 1345 after a flood swept the original bridge away in 1333.
- Another flood in 1966 Arno River flood killed dozens of people in Florence Italy.
- Ponte Vecchio bridge was the only bridge spared from destruction by the retreating German army in Florence during World War II.
- There have been shops on Ponte Vecchio since the 13th century.
- In 2016 the BBC reported an embankment along The Arno River 200m (650ft) wide collapsed leaving 20 cars partially submerged by the river in a newly formed ditch.
- While the Arno River is not suitable or safe enough for swimming, you can hop in a small boat for a tour as seen in the video below.
What is the Arno River famous for?
Diving the city of Florence into two parts, the Arno River is famous for its beautiful reflections of the Florence skyline, its famous bridge Ponte Vecchio, and above all the 1966 flood that killed dozens of people.
It’s unfortunate that the Arno River is remembered for taking life when it has also brought life to the region since ancient times. As a critical transitway between the Apennine Mountains and the Ligurian Sea, the Arno River brought much-needed supplies for building life across the region.
1966 Flood of the Arno River
Arno River starts all the way up in the slopes of the Tuscan Apennines and flows 150 miles past Arezzo, Florence, Empoli, and Pisa before joining the Ligurian Sea. Along the way, the river passes under twelve bridges in Florence. The most famous of which is Ponte Vecchio. The only one to have survived the destruction of the Second World War.
Final Thoughts on Arno River
In addition to witnessing war, Arno River has a torrent history of its own. In November 1966, dozens of people were killed as rushing waters collapsed an embankment and Florence flooded. Being the birthplace of the Renaissance, millions of rare books and works of art were destroyed. At least I leave you on a sad note.
Florence is always a joy to explore on foot. Yet it’s Arno River that bookends every visit and the first flashes in my mind when I think of Florence.
Since many of our readers are repeat visitors, our why you can trust us section is at the bottom.
There is a reason we are confident in the information we share about traveling in Italy. It is not just what we do for a living or who we are that count. Our professional experience is what matters most.
We are Paolo and Brandy, co-owners of ALOR Italy and dual Italian American citizens.
Born and raised in Italy, Paolo received a degree in Business and Economics from the University of Torino and studied cinematography in Rome before becoming a professional photographer and published author.
Born in Iowa, Brandy received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Communications from The Ohio State University before becoming an Executive Producer in New York City, working for brands like Food Network, Discovery, InStyle, and HBO.
Together, we’ve traveled extensively throughout Italy since 2011. We also have almost 100 years of combined experience eating pizza in Italy, but who’s counting?
We co-founded ALOR Consulting in 2013. Since then, we have worked in the hospitality, food, and beverage industry. Our clients have included Hilton Hotels, Provenance Hotels, and dozens of restaurants, spirits, and brewery clients.
2019 marked the beginning of our journey toward early retirement when we moved to Italy. Now, we travel to Italy’s popular destinations and off-the-beaten-path gems from our home base in the Italian Alps.
Our motto is Live Italian because the secret to la dolce vita is having an Italian lifestyle mindset. Once you experience a slower pace of life in Italy, you can connect to that feeling and live Italian anywhere in the world.
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