It was Giorgio Vasari who, in 1565, made a crucial contribution to the Ponte Vecchio’s current appearance by building the Vasari Corridor for Cosimo I dei Medici, the walkway connecting the Palazzo Vecchio with the Pitti Palace, then the private home of the Medici. The raised corridor, roughly a kilometer long and built in only five months, begins at the Palazzo Vecchio, passes through the Uffizi Gallery, continues along lungarno Archibusieri, before passing above the stores on the eastern side of the bridge.
In the 17th century the retrobotteghe (“back-shops”) were eventually added, supported by brackets (or “sporti”) that give the bridge its current distinctive appearance. In 1593, by order of Ferdinand I who would not tolerate the unpleasant odors hanging below the Vasari Corridor, the fishmongers, butchers and tanneries made way for goldsmiths and jewellers. Still today, the shops on the bridge remain exclusively jewelers and goldsmiths, making the Ponte Vecchio the perfect destination for a day of shopping.