The original name of the Ponte alla Carraia in Florence was Ponte Nuovo. It is best to view this bridge, preferably at sunset, from the Ponte Santa Trinità. The reflection of the buildings along the river creates a beautiful, magical atmosphere. The local nickname of the Ponte alla Carraia is the “hunchback bridge”.
Ponte alla Carraia Florence
Since the Ponte alla Carraia was the first bridge built in Florence after the Ponte Vecchio, it was originally called Ponte Nuovo. The oldest version of this “New Bridge” dates back to 1218.
At the time the area north of the bridge was controlled by the Ognissanti Church of the religious order of the Umiliati. This order occupied itself with the production of wool and it was the wool makers’ guild that paid for most of the bridge.
It was originally built to transport goods faster to the port of Pisa. However, this first version of the bridge collapsed about half a century after its construction, as a result of the Arno having flooded.
In 1303, the bridge collapsed again. This time the disaster was caused because of an excessive crowd of people on it.
Giotto was (probably) responsible for a reconstruction, after the bridge collapsed again, in 1333. He had two chapels added to the sides.
Giotto’s version lasted for more than two centuries before disaster struck again. In 1557, it was Ammanati’s turn to design two new bridges, after both the Ponte alla Carraia and the Ponte Santa Trinità had collapsed.
Ammanati had the bridge widened, partly to strengthen it, and partly to make it accessible to carriages. It is from this moment that the bridge was named Ponte alla Carraia.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the footpaths were added.
The current version with five arches was built in 1948. This time the Ponte Carraia had been destroyed by human hands. German troops had blown up all bridges in Florence apart from the Ponte Vecchio, in order to prevent Allied troops from passing through.
A final restoration took place in 1952, under the direction of Ettore Fagioli. In doing so, however, the architect followed Ammanati’s old project.
The Ponte alla Carraia connects the Via dei Serragli on the south side of the river to the Piazza Goldoni and the Via del Moro on the north side. The biggest attractions on the Piazza Goldoni are the monument for the playwright Carlo Goldoni and the Palazzo Ricasoli.