In August 1944, Allied forces were poised to cross the Arno River and continue north. In an effort to slow their advance, the Germans destroyed all bridges over the Arno, except one, the Ponte Vecchio. It is thought that Gerhard Wolf who was the German Consul to Florence at that time, defied Hitler’s orders and thus saved this ancient  bridge.

This plaque can be seen on the Ponte Vecchio. I doubt that many people would give it a glance, let alone realise the significance of this action. It commends the actions of Gerhard Wolf in preventing the destruction of the bridge, and also mentions his role in saving partisans and Jews during Nazi occupation.


Buildings on either side of the river were destroyed, to slow the advance of the Allied forces.


Image sourced online

Just a few steps away along Via Por Santa Maria, you’ll find a couple of survivors of the explosives that razed so many ancient buildings. This is the Torre degli Amidei. 





One of the Etruscan lion heads is the original.


I wonder if it is this one?


Torre Baldovinetti, just across the Borgo SS Apostoli, also survived.





Filed under Florence

18 responses to “Survivors

  1. Hard to imagine such chaos and destruction going on in the very spots. Wonderful to see what was preserved!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. julie

    Great pictures Yvonne, hope you are enjoying Florence,
    My uncle Pep (John – he got the nickname in Italy and it stuck ) Was there in Florence at the time, he would often tell me how the Allied forces would hide in “rabbit holes” along the Arno.

    Here is an interesting article

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your Uncle would have had some tales to tell, for sure.

      Thank you so much for the article, I hope everyone reads it, Julie. Ciao to you and the family (and dog).


  3. Glad something survived. Great photos and I like the window washer.


  4. Jane

    When you read about the efforts made by the allies to preserve the heritage of the west moving up through Italy during WWII it is amazing what was saved…..and very sad how much was lost.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Every country does it and it is unforgiveable, from Florence to Coventry to Dresden. I still love Betjeman’s Slough though… “Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough! It isn’t fit for humans now, There isn’t grass to graze a cow.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, you sent me on a prompt search to find out more about that poem, Andrew. Then, I found this reference also:

      “In the first series of The Office, which is set in Slough, Ricky Gervais, in the character of David Brent reads extracts of the poem interjected with derisive comments such as “You don’t solve town planning problems by dropping bombs all over the place”.”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Must have taken great courage to defy Hitler. So much loss of life and destruction in war – will humans ever learn?


  7. Amen to that, and so many innocents are affected.


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