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  • Writer's pictureJoe Nickols, MA

A Brief History of the Ponte Santa Trìnita in Florence

What is the Ponte Santa Trìnita?

The Ponte Santa Trìnita is a bridge that has stood since the 13th century and marks the centre of Florentine medieval trade.

Ponte Santa Trinita

sailko, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ponte Santa Trìnita History

Like many bridges, the Ponte Santa Trìnita (or Holy Trinity Bridge) began as a simple wooden crossing. The flooding of the Arno in 1333 and 1557 swept away previous incarnations of the structure. The current bridge, constructed in the 1560s, was the creation of Mannerist architect Bartolomeo Ammannati. Mannerism was a movement that strove to transcend reality by elongating forms and embracing artificiality, born out of a rejection of the Renaissance principles of harmony and balance. In Mannerist architecture, the ellipse, an elongated circle, became a popular motif. Ammannati used this shape as his template for the bridge’s arches. The Ponte Santa Trìnita was also an important symbol of Medici power, and to mark the marriage of Grand Duke Cosimo II and Maria Magdalena of Austria in 1608 it was decorated with sculptures representing the seasons.

The bridge was destroyed for a third time on the 3rd of August 1944 by retreating German troops who were attempting to slow the advance of the British Army. A temporary structure was erected across the Arno by the Royal Engineers. After the war, it was faithfully reconstructed using original materials raised from the riverbed and additional stone mined from the same quarry, painstakingly researched and located by supervising architect Riccardo Gizdulich and project engineer Emilio Brizzi.

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