When the goldsmiths (orafi) of Florence decided to honour the 400th anniversary of the birth of their great predecessor and fellow Florentine, Benvenuto Cellini (1500-71), where better to place the monument than on the Ponte Vecchio, where the orafi had been doing business for centuries.
The shops on Florence's oldest bridge (1345) haven't always been occupied by goldsmiths. Until the end of the 16th century they were home to a much less refined set of professionals, the city's butchers. All this changed in 1593 when Grand Duke Ferdinand I de' Medici (r. 1587-1609) issued an edict ordering the butchers to be replaced by goldsmiths.
The monument takes the form of a fountain, which is surmounted by a magnificent bronze bust of Cellini. It was created by locally-born sculptor Raffaello Romanelli (1856-1928).
Monument to Benvenuto Cellini by Raffaello Romanelli