The Ponte alle Grazie, which lies a short distance upstream of the Ponte Vecchio, was the third bridge to be built across the river Arno. It was constructed in 1237 when it was called the Ponte di Rubaconte, after the podestà (the city's chief magistrate), Rubaconte da Mandello, who had commissioned its construction. The bridge was later renamed after a popular tabernacle of the Virgin and Child (Madonna delle Grazie), which once stood on the north side.
The Ponte alle Grazie, which was the longest bridge in medieval Florence, was built entirely of stone. It was the only bridge to survive the catastrophic flood of 1333, which swept away the other three.
In the 14th century a number of tiny chapels were built along both sides of the bridge. The chapels were inhabited by nuns who were appalled at the behaviour and loose morals of their fellow sisters. The nuns lived in isolation and food was passed to them through grilles. The chapels were removed in 1876 when the bridge was widened to accommodate the city's trams.
On August 4th, 1944, the Ponte alle Grazie suffered the same fate as two of its sister bridges (the Ponte Santa Trinita and the Ponte della Carraia) when it was blown up by the retreating German army.
The Ponte alle Grazie was rebuilt in 1957.
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