It happens to the best of us. One minute you are busy navigating your way around a new city, the next, you are driving over Florence’s oldest bridge before getting caught by police. At least that’s what happened to a man from California last week, when he attempted to find a parking space and instead landed a €500 fine for driving a rented Fiat Panda over the city’s Ponte Vecchio, or ‘the old bridge’. A City of Florence spokesperson told CNN that the unnamed 34-year-old man was also fined for driving without an international driver's permit.
The iconic structure, which is managed by the Municipality of Florence, was completed in 1345 as a replacement for an earlier bridge, destroyed in a flood. It is the only Florentine bridge spanning the River Arno to have survived the Second World War. Further conservation measures designed to keep the bridge in top-notch condition include limiting retail units on the crossing to goldsmiths and artists. Last year, the mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, announced that Ponte Vecchio would undergo a €2m revamp.