Siege of Florence During World War 2 Florence, a city that was too close to the Gothic Line, is remembered as one of the places where the art world lost the most. A city that was rich in art and historically significant, where most of the western civilization's greatest art had been created and carefully preserved, was now at the threshold of war. Some of the highlights of the siege include: Stalling the Allies: Gen. Albert Kesselring, commander of the German army in Italy, was not ready to grant any military advantage to the Allies and was trying his best to drag the war. A couple of months earlier the Germans had spared Rome's bridges during their withdrawal from the city, which in turn aided the Allied entry into Italy. Since they didn't want to repeat the mistake, the General decided that its best to destroy the city's bridges and slow down the advancing Allies and thereby assist the German army's retreat into the north of Italy. Fall of the Bridges: In early August of 1944, in the face of the advancing Allied forces, the retreating German soldiers had got their orders to blow up every bridge in Florence, except the Ponte Vecchio, which was the oldest bridge in the city. The city already weary of the ongoing war was heartbroken to see its art and architecture end up paying such a terrible price. The famous Santa Trinita bridge that was designed by Bartolomeo Ammannoti, in the mid 16th century, with the assistance of the great Michelangelo, had such strength that it fell only after the third detonation. " Recovery Measures: Known as the "most beautiful bridge in the world," Santa Trinita was destroyed for nothing. The Allied troops used a portable, pre-fabricated "Bailey bridge," and got it assembled atop the existing piers of Santa Trinita and successfully crossed the Arno. For safeguarding the incredible art located in Florence, an elite Allied squad was called in at the Florence Rail Yard to execute one of the most precise bomb strikes of WWII. The Allied unit did an incredible job in successfully destroying just the 400 feet wide Rail Yard, thus preventing the Nazis from receiving critical supplies and saving the art. Finally, on May 2, 1945, the German troops in Italy laid their arms down for good, and the war in Italy came to an end. Florence without the iconic Santa Trinita bridge was unimaginable! A noted American art historian, Bernard Berenson, who lived in Florence help rebuild the bridge in 1958. The bridge is now considered a perfect replica of the original. Author Bio: The author is an architect by profession and also a history enthusiast. She likes to visit historical monuments like the Santa Trinita Bridge that speak volumes of a bygone era and writes about it for her avid readers.