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.
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.