Walking east from Ponte Vecchio, the first stretch of Via de' Bardi shows clear signs of its recent history. This entire area was flattened by German mines in 1944, and hastily rebuilt in questionable taste after the war. The street spills into Piazza di Santa Maria Soprarno. Follow narrow Via de' Bardi away from the square and you enter a quiet corner of Florence once practically owned by the powerful Bardi family.

By the time Cosimo the Elder wed Contessina de' Bardi in 1415, the latter's family was on the decline. Via de' Bardi ends on Piazza de' Mozzi, surrounded by the sturdy facades of grand residences. Pope Gregory X stayed at Palazzo de' Mozzi when brokering peace between the Guelphs and Ghibellines.