Ponte Vecchio means Old Bridge. The original bridge was built by the Romans around 996 to cross the Arno River at it’s narrowest point, but was swept away in a flood nearly 100 years later. It was rebuilt of stone and swept away in another flood in 1333, and rebuilt again in 1345. The Upper portion was built in 1565 and is known today as the Vasariano Corridor which connects the Ufizzi Gallery and the Pitti Palace.
San Gimignano, Italy became a town in the 10th century. It was named after the poet Folgore da San Gimignano who was born there in 1270. It boasts five museums and nine monuments and is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. We had a great afternoon wandering through the town and through the shops. Many shops sell sketches of the Italian countryside done by local artists that are quite good.
The Basilica di Santa Croce, also known as the Temple of the Italian Glories because of the number of famous Italians entombed there is located on the Piazza di Santa Croce 800 meters south of the Duomo. It is the principle Franciscan Church in Florence, has 16 chapels, and was probably started in 1294. There are a total of 16 tombs and monuments of famous Italians such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Dante, and Rossini. The neo-gothic façade dates 1857-1863 however, and the campanile 1842. Some 19 artists have contributed to the artwork.
The street performers of Florence were really amazing. In 1437 a street performer named Fiasco performer juggling and other acts on the streets of Florence. Now some of the most seen are mimes. I could not detect even the most infinitesimal movement from them unless they were “on.”