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Ponte del Maddalena | by Hans van der Boom
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Ponte del Maddalena

Ponte della Maddalena (Bridge of Mary Magdalene) is a bridge crossing the Serchio river near the town of Borgo a Mozzano in the Italian province of Lucca. One of numerous medieval bridges known as Ponte del Diavolo or Bridge of the Devil, it was a vital river crossing on the Via Francigena, an early medieval road to Rome for those coming from France that was an important medieval pilgrimage route.

 

The bridge is a remarkable example of medieval engineering, probably commissioned by the Countess Matilda of Tuscany circa 1080-1100. It was renovated circa 1300 under the direction of Castruccio Castracani. The largest span is 37.8 m. The bridge is also described in a 14th century novella by Giovanni Sercambi of Lucca.

 

Circa 1500 it took on the name of Ponte della Maddalena, from an oratory dedicated to Mary Magdalene, whose statue stood at the foot of the bridge on the eastern bank.

 

In 1670 the General Council of the Republic of Lucca issued a decree prohibiting passage over the bridge with millstones (ceppi) and sacks of flour in order to preserve the structure.

 

In 1836, after being badly damaged during a flood, the bridge underwent urgent repair work. In the early 1900s in order to make room for the surfaced roadway an additional arch was added to the right hand section, considerably altering the original design.

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Taken on May 25, 2012