Florence is the third most visited city in Italy after Venice and Rome. Pre-COVID Florence received 16 million visitors a year! I wonder how many of them realize the Arno River stretches all the way to the Ligurian Sea? I’ll admit I didn’t until doing research for this post! Today’s post includes a quick story behind the photo, a few Arno River facts, and a video that shows how beautiful Arno River can be. Enjoy getting swept away in Florence my friend!
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.
Florence is always a joy to explore on foot. Yet it’s Arno River that bookends every visit and first flashes in my mind when I think of Florence. If you have yet to see Florence, here’s that video I promised. It’s easy to see why so many tourists flock to Florence.
Today’s Pictures of Italy capture near paradisiacal tranquility of the Arno River. Yet the glassy surface belies a current that sweeps both water and destruction under the bridge.
1966 Flood of the Arno
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, Arno River passes under twelve bridges in Florence. The most famous of which Ponte Vecchio. The only one to have survived the destruction of the Second World War.
In addition to witnessing war, Arno River has a torrent history of it’s own. In November of 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. Least I leave you on a sad note.
Do you think when Bartolomeo Ammannati built Ponte Vecchio he could have ever imagined how much water under the famous bridge there would be?