Stone and water, iron and woods, ceramics and spirit
Bridge situated at the doors of Borgo a Mozzano, called “The Devil’s Bridge” or the “Maddalena Bridge” is certainly the most beautiful bridge in the province of Lucca, and one of the most suggestive in Italy. Many legends were born from its myterious construction and its singular design, with one large arch flanked by three smaller ones, inspired the works of many artists. The bridge’s slimming profile, which continues to strike its admirers, must have been even more impressive in the past before a dam was built, in the years after the Second World War, which raised the level of the water in the surrounding area.
The popular belief says that, to finish this medieval masterpiece of engineering in pre-established times, a mason came to terms with the Devil. The latter promised to finish it in one night in exchange for the first soul that had crossed it. The builder, having signed the pact, was taken by remorse and was confessed by a local religious who found a clever solution to mock the evil one. In fact, to pass on the bridge first was a dog, or as some say a pig, who paid the costs in place of a human by making the Devil disappear into the river. Although not infrequently you can notice, in the darkest evenings, wandering the shadow of a four-legged being, symbol of the devil who still goes in search of the mason’s soul.
The beautiful Ponte delle Catene in Fornoli was commissioned by the Duke of Lucca, Charles Louis de Bourbon, to replace an earlier bridge (built in the 1300s) which was washed away in a flood in 1836. The chain suspension bridge crosses the Lima River from Fornoli to the little piazza in Chifenti. It is now a pedestrian bridge. Architect Lorenzo Nottolini was sent to England to study suspension bridges there. The bridge was begun in 1844 and completed in 1860, making it one of the first suspension bridges in Italy. The road section of the bridge was destroyed in WWII and was rebuilt in 1950.
It looks very majestic, especially in the early evening light.