The gentle river Arno flows through Florence, Italy. Florence was first settled in 67 BC by Cassus, who established this as a community for retired Roman soldiers. The first bridge across the Arno was believed to have been built by the Romans at this point, the narrowest point of crossing on the Arno. This original bridge was constructed from stone and wood, and disappeared at some time around 1100.
During the middle ages Florentines constructed the current stone Ponte Vecchio, which provided passage between the two sides of Florence. This bridge was a key artery, and the merchants realized the opportunity and placed butcher shops along the pathway. Shopkeepers of Florence still recognize the value of the unique location, and those shops have been upgraded into jewelers.