The Devil’s Bridge (Ponte del Diavolo) or Magdalene’s Bridge (Ponte della Maddalena) is an impressive medieval structure that crosses the river Serchio a few hundred metres after passing Borgo a Mozzano coming from Lucca along the State Road 12 of Abetone and Brennero towards the Garfagnana.
The bridge is walkable, best park in the parking lot that is present along the State Road 12 of Abetone and Brennero, just in front of a restaurant, and from there walk across the bridge.
The Devil’s Bridge is the main attraction of Borgo a Mozzano and is a beautiful medieval bridge formed by majestic arches, perhaps built at the behest of the Countess Matilda of Canossa (11th century), it was remodeled and restored by Castruccio Castracani in 14th century, the first written account of the bridge come from a short story of the fourteenth century by Giovanni Sercambi.
The name of the bridge “Maddalena” seems to derive from the presence – in the sixteenth century – of a nearby aedicula with the statue of St. Magdalene (Mary Magdalene), who is now in the parish of San Jacopo.
While the other name by which the bridge is known, “Devil’s Bridge ” is due to a legend, which explains the popular imagination as the work is not human, the wonder of a building so magnificent, it is said that during the construction of bridge, it was realized that it was impossible to meet deadlines for the conclusion of the work, then the foreman decided to come to terms with the devil, the devil would have completed the task provided to take the first soul that would cross the bridge, the following night the devil finished the bridge with the great arch that now characterizes it, but the legend has a happy ending, because the foreman was able to mock the devil by crossing, first, the bridge to a pig, which provoked the flight of the devil and the happy ending of the legend.
Today the bridge appears altered from its original structure, in fact, in the early ‘900 was opened a new arc, on the right side of the bridge, to allow the passage of the railway line to the Garfagnana.
- AA. VV. “Toscana” Guide Rosse Touring Club Italiano, 2007
- Gucci Natale; De Falco Anna “Il fascino e la funzione. Il ponte della Maddalena detto «del diavolo»” 2010, Pacini Fazzi
- Ghiringhelli Giorgio “Il ponte del Diavolo nelle vecchie stampe” 2007, Casagrande
- Lera Guglielmo “Il ponte del Diavolo. Illustrazioni e leggende” 2003, Pacini Fazzi