After the fall of Rome, Allied troops continued the Italian Campaign by pressing northwards to Florence. The city had been occupied by German troops for the previous year but was declared an ‘open city’ upon their retreat.
Open cities were evacuated of defending troops in return for being spared the bombing campaigns and other destructive attacks from the opposing military.
Florence was declared an open city partly to preserve its many historic buildings from damage, although the retreating Germans did destroy all but one bridge and several historic residential areas. One Florentine consulate did, however, manage to convince a German general to spare the lone Ponte Vecchio bridge.