Bridges: Do They Connect or Divide Us?

Florence’s famous Medici family constructed an entire network of secret passages across the city to connect them to their residences, work and places of worship. Many take the form of tiny bridges that span narrow streets; barely noticeable at first glance.

The many walkways of Ponte Vecchio, Florence

However Ponte Vecchio can’t be missed. Spanning the river Arno, even today its public and private walkways are clearly visible. In this image, the Medici’s secret walkway is denoted by the small rectangular windows across the highest section of the bridge. Below, the crowds promenade along the main street, oblivious to the passageways above them.

Ironically, while the Medici’s bridges connected them to their city, they had another role: to seclude and divide them from a Public that, on more than one occasion, had risen against their ruling power. The Medici may have felt connected, but ultimately, these secret bridges isolated them from their beautiful Florence.

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