Posted by: Debra Kolkka | January 8, 2015

Tell the time on the Ponte Vecchio

When you can take your eyes off the glittering jewels on the Ponte Vecchio, or the gorgeous views up and down the Arno from the centre of the bridge, look up to see the ancient sundial.

Sundial on the Ponte Vecchio

Up to the 13th century the Ponte Vecchio was  Florence’s only bridge. After the flood of 1333, it was rebuilt with a 3 arched structure with shops along both sides. In the middle is a little piazza.

On the roof of a shop was erected the sundial supported by a white marble pillar. Underneath is a stone table which says…

“In the year 1333 the bridge collapsed due to floods of water; 12 years later, as pleased the Comune, it was rebuilt with this ornamentation.”

…and most of it is still there for us to admire.


  1. Beautiful post

    • Thank you. Ponte Vecchio is a beautiful bridge. I walk across it at least once every time I go to Florence.

  2. There’s so much to discover in Florence! Yay ….

    • Yes, I can’t wait to get back there.

  3. OMG…….isn’t that fantastic!!! What a wonderful detail you have given us Deb. I really like these kind of details…..they’re the ones you can enjoy when you travel ‘slowly’….which is the only way to go I think!

    I remember crossing the Ponte Vecchio way back in 1998….an exhilarating experience knowing that people who lived in Medieval times had done just that.

    After crossing the bridge we ducked into one of those lovely little (and very expensive) jewellery shops….where I indulged!

    She said it was ‘tortoiseshell’….but on closer inspection back home in Australia…it was simply tortoiseshell plastic! She even got it out of the safe!!!!!!! What a trickster and good actress she was!

    Never mind….I still wear it fondly with happy memories.

    Ciao Deb,

    • Be happy that a tortoise didn’t lose its life for you jewel. I’m sure it is beautiful plastic.

  4. Actually, We also used to have a Ponte Vecchio in Bagni di Lucca, which used to run from the side of the mill, linking it to the other bank of the river, which is nowadays known by that name. It collapsed around the 1730’s and was replaced by the Ponte Nuovo, which is the one that takes us to the Post Office and La Villa…
    But it was not as glamorous as the one in Florence…..

    • The bridge in front of my apartment is new too. The original one was bombed in WWII. You can still see bits of the old bridge in the river.

  5. Deb you have the most interesting finds.

    • I have seen this many times, but found out by accident that it was as old as the bridge.

  6. Cool find … so what time did you take the pic?

    • Judging by the shadow it should have been about 6.30, but it was in fact, taken in the middle of the day. Clearly I don’t understand sundial speak.

  7. And it never needs winding!

    • That’s true, but it would help if it was complete.

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