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bridges

Ponte del Diavolo


Area: Mediavalle
District/Locality: Borgo a Mozzano
Dating: 14th century

The bridge in Borgo a Mozzano called "Devil's Bridge" or "Magdalene's Bridge" is clearly the most amazing in the province of Lucca and one of the most impressive bridges in Italy. The large round-headed arch flanked by three smaller arches was the source of inspiration for numerous artists and gave origin to legends relating to its construction.
Its slender design, still impressing the viewer, used to be certainly more amazing in the past. Indeed, the dam which, since the II World War has been raising the water level nearby the bridge, had not been built yet. According to the legend, the bridge was built by St. Julian. Being unable to accomplish the work for the enormous difficultly, the saint asked for the help of the Devil, promising to give him the soul of the first living thing crossing the bridge. Once the bridge had been accomplished, St. Julian threw there a piece of focaccia bread drawing there a dog and thus making fun of the devil.
Reliable historical information on the bridge construction is scarce. In his biography of Castruccio Castracani, Nicolao Tegrimi ascribed the bridge construction to Matilde di Canossa (1046-1125) and reported about a restoration carried out by Castruccio Castracani (1281-1328). According to Massimo Betti, the smaller masonry arches of the bridge were built under Castruccio and were ment to replace the previous wooden structures. That would explain the differences between the larger and the smaller arches and the difference in the road slope on the left side of the bridge, which was built over the already existing arch.
In 1526, the Magdalene's hermitage was built on the stream left bank, giving origin to one of the bridge's names. In the following centuries, a factory (documented since 1724) was built on the right bank. In 1899, the bridge structure facing Borgo a Mozzano was modified for the railway Lucca-Aulla to be built there: part of the bridge was demolished and a ramp was placed over the railway.
How to reach

by car:From Lucca take the SS12 road in direction of Abetone. The bridge is after the junction to Borgo a Mozzano.

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