Ponte Vecchio which crosses the River Arno is the oldest bridge in Florence and also one of its must see attractions. The bridge is said to be in existence since Roman times. As was the common practice in Medieval times, shops and houses were built on the bridge. These were used by butchers and tanners to carry out their trade. In order to maximize whatever space they had, some of the houses were extended over the sides of the bridge, cantilevering over the river - giving the bridge its unique and charming appearance.
In the 15th Century, Duke Ferdinand I ordered for the shops to be replaced with goldsmiths as the butchers and tanners produced too much garbage and a foul stench. The jewelry shops have remained on the bridge till today.