Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence is to undergo the second phase of a hige restoration project later this year. Image by Revol Web from Bologna, Italia via Wikimedia under Creatoive Commons license

Next phase of Ponte Vecchio restoration begins

By Region Central Italy Culture News

In 2022, the mayor of Florence announced a major restoration of the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence, as it near its 700-year anniversary. This week, the mayor announced the phase regarding the removal of algae and lichen.

Over the span of seven centuries since its construction in Florence, the Ponte Vecchio has stood witness to the evolving landscape of the city, enduring natural disasters and the upheaval of war, notably during the Nazi occupation in World War II.

In 2022, mayor Nardella described the bridge’s conservation and restoration project as a major investment that will allow the enhancement of one of the world’s greatest icons.”

The first stage was surveys and material samples and the installation of a bridge monitoring system.

The second stage starts later in 2024 – the removal of algae, lichen and vegetation.

Phase Two – algae removal

Heralded as an iconic symbol of Florence, the bridge will undergo a two-year restoration. The estimated cost is €2 million. The city and the Marchesi Antinorini winemakers made the announcement.

Mayor Dario Nardella stated the historic significance of the project, underscoring the technical complexity involved in restoring the Ponte Vecchio to its former grandeur.

“This is a historic project because Ponte Vecchio has never had a restoration intervention of this technical complexity,” Florence’s mayor Dario Nardella told reporters on Thursday. “In the end we will have an even more beautiful bridge than we are used to seeing.

Top things to do in Florence

The restoration will encompass a thorough cleaning to eradicate algae, moss, and other growths, along with the removal of chemical deposits from the river. Phase three includes upgrades to previous replacement joints, strengthening of the stone structure, and restoration of the footpath. Phase four will see the revival of the coats of arms and a new coat of paint.

Scheduled to commence in late 2024, the algae work will unfold in stages, with the upper section addressed first, followed by the lower portion in subsequent years.

Marchesi Antinori, one of Italy’s best-known wine-making families. is donating around half the funds required for the project.

“Our family history has always been inextricably linked to Florence since the 13th century,” the group’s president, Piero Antinori, told reporters Thursday. “The city has given us so much over the centuries, which is why it is a pleasure for us to be able to be part of this important project.”

Such private initiatives reflect a growing trend in Italy, where funding for historic monument maintenance has dwindled. Notable examples include Bulgari patronage of the Largo di Torre Argentina and Diesel’s contributions to Venice’s Rialto Bridge.

About the Ponte Vecchio

Renowned for its architectural marvel, the pedestrian bridge, constructed in 1345, spans the Arno River. The buildings along it house jewellery shops. A connecting upper gallery – the Vasari Corridor – links the Uffizi Gallery to the Pitti Palace.

During World War II, the Ponte Vecchio held a unique distinction as the only bridge across the Arno River spared by the retreating German forces.

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