If history and cultural heritage are your cup of tea, then visiting ancient bridges is one of the activities you mustn’t miss in Italy. Moreover, this country has many hidden gems to discover. By visiting the main historical sites, you’ll get to admire some of the most fascinating ancient bridges in Italy. Read this article to discover where they are.
1. Ancient bridges in Italy: Ponte della Maddalena, Borgo a Mozzano, Lucca (Tuscany)
Also called Bridge of the Devil, it is one of the most stunning arch bridges of the Peninsula. Made in stone, it crosses the Serchio river, one of the main rivers in Tuscany, together with Arno and Ombrone. Its construction began thanks to Matilde of Tuscany. She was one of the most powerful nobles in Italy during the 11th century. However, the bridge’s contemporary features are mainly thanks to Castruccio Castracani, duke of Lucca. Along with the story of the bridge are many tales which concern it. For instance, its name comes from the chapel which was located nearby, on the river banks.
2. Ponte Romano, Fermignano, Pesaro-Urbino (Marche)
The forty-meter-long Roman Bridge of Fermignano, located near Urbino, is one of Marche’s hidden gems. This stone bridge and has 3 arches and rises near the town of Fermignano. This is where the Metauro River forms a light waterfall. What’s more, the bridge also possesses a votive aedicule on top of it. Inside it, you can find frescoes dating back to the fourteen or fifteen hundreds. For instance, in the votive you can admire The Madonna and child, and this is why people call the bridge “Madonna del Ponte”.
3. Ancient bridges in Italy: Ponte delle Torri, Spoleto, Perugia (Umbria)
You can reach Ponte delle Torri by taking via del Ponte, which runs along the city walls that surround the fortress and then heading to Piazza Campello. This 230-meter limestone bridge dates back to the XIII and XIV century and is 80 meters in length. The main reason for its construction was to carry the waters of the Cortaggione springs into the city. In addition to that, from the bridge, it is possible to enjoy a stunning view of the landscape and of the Tessino river.
4. Ponte Sant’Angelo, Roma (Lazio)
Built in 136 B.C., it connects Piazza di Ponte Sant’Angelo to Lungotevere Vaticano. It is one of the most alluring bridges in Rome. Its original name is Ponte Elio. The name comes from the emperor Elio Adriano, who wanted the construction of the bridge in order to connect the city to the Castle of Sant’Angelo. However, its current state dates back to works in 1882. It went through many alterations during the past, such as the addition of the statues portraying Saint Peter and Saint Paul. After that, in 1669, Bernini designed and affixed 10 other statues bearing the symbol of passion, at Clemente IX’s request.
5. Ponte Acquedotto, Gravina di Puglia, Bari (Apulia)
37 meters in height, 90 in length, and 5 meters in width, Ponte Acquedotto di Gravina di Puglia originally served as a crossing from the gravina of Botromagno to the church of Madonna della Stella. Furthermore, the Orsini later turned into an aqueduct. The Orsini was an influential noble family during the Reinassance period. The reason for this alteration was to make sure the spring waters of Sant Angelo could reach the city of Gravina. This is a must-see in Gravina, as it represents one of the main symbols of the city.
6. Ancient bridges in Italy: Ponte di Augusto e Tiberio, Rimini (Emilia-Romagna)
Made of Istrian stone, it is one of the most ancient bridges in Italy. It was constructed between 14 A.D, during Augustus’s reign, and 21 A.D. under Tiberio’s governance. A hidden Roman gem of the city of Rimini, it crosses the river Marecchia and connects the city to the hamlet of San Giuliano. The latter is one of the oldest in the city and an ancient working-class district. What’s more, it has survived several earthquakes, floods, and many conflicts.
7. Ponte del Diavolo, Cividale del Friuli, Udine (Friuli Venezia Giulia)
Symbol of the Cividale del Friuli, it lands on a natural boulder located on the bed of the river Natione, which crosses the city. The bridge is fifty meters long and three and a half meters wide. Its construction dates back to 1442. Moreover, you can cross the core of the city and by doing this you get to see a picturesque gorge. According to a tale, the gigantic mass on which the central pylon of the bridge lays would have been taken from the mother of the devil.
8. Ponte Gobbo, Bobbio, Piacenza (Emilia-Romagna)
This one too is called the Bridge of the Devil, and is situated in the province of Piacenza. This unique construction has a ragged edge and crosses the Trebbia river. It is 273 meters long and referred to as Ponte Gobbo for its irregular profile and its eleven arches, that are positioned at different levels. In addition to that, here you can also find the statues depicting San Colombano and Madonna dell’Aiuto. These two works of art represent one of the principal points of interest in the region. Ponte Gobbo is definitely one of the main attractions in this hamlet. Moreover, it attracts many tourists because it is also possible to go for a swim and to sunbathe near the river.
9. Ancient bridges in Italy: Ponte Coperto, Pavia (Lombardy)
Ponte Coperto or Ponte Vecchio connects the core of the city to the neighborhood of Borgo Ticino. Among the symbols of Pavia, this covered bridge is characterized by five arches and a small chapel in the middle. Ponte Coperto dates back to the 14th century and later restored in 1949. Furthermore, it has been the set of many films, such as “Il cappotto” by Alberto Lattuada and “Fantasma d’amore” by Dino Risi, with Marcello Mastroianni and Romy Schneider.
10. Ponte degli Alpini, Bassano del Grappa, Vicenza (Veneto)
In the waters of the Brenta river stands one of the most traditional bridges in Italy. Built during 1209 and covered in wood, it has gone through various phases of restoration. Furthermore, this work of art is dedicated to thousands of soldiers who crossed this bridge to reach the Altopiano of Asiago. This location is known because of the many battles which took place here during the First World War.
Ancient bridges are often situated in medieval hamlets. Read about the best hamlets in Italy here