Posted by: debrakolkka | January 31, 2010

Ponte Maddelena – Devil’s Bridge

the Devil'sBridge

The Ponte Maddelena crosses the Serchio river a few kilometres from Bagni di Lucca at Borgo a Mozzano.  I always sit on the river side of the bus when I go to Lucca so I can get a good view of the bridge.  It is beautiful at any time of the year.  If you are really lucky you will go past when the river is calm and the reflections in the water make it look incredible.

a different view

It was a vital river crossing on the Via Francigena, an early medieval road to Rome from France.  It was built around 1080 – 1100 and renovated around 1300.  In 1836 it was badly damaged during a flood and needed extensive work.  An additional arch was added in the early 1900’s when the road along the river was rebuilt.

the main arch

If you have a car you can stop at the car park beside the bridge and take the time to walk across.  The view of the mountains from the top is lovely, expecially in winter when they are covered with snow.  Without a car it is difficult to stop here. You could time your bus travel so that you had an hour there between buses.  I made the mistake of walking once from Bagni di Lucca.  The road is narrow and treacherous and I was shouted at by motorists all the way.

from the top

I think the local council should build a walking track along the river, connecting Borgo a Mozzano to Chifenti, making the bridge  much more accessible.  It wouldn’t take much – a walkway suspended over the river.  What a great idea.  Perhaps someone will take it up one day.

There are legends surrounding the bridge.  Call into one of the little shops beside the bridge for a coffee, post card and hear the stories.

Or, read the comments below.

Click here to see the bridge in winter, or here for more fabulous spring photos and here to see a huge flag hanging from the bidge.


  1. Devil’s Bridge brought back memories for me in 2006 when my husband and I walked over the steps worn by centuries of feet. We explored a tiny rather sleepy town at the other side (can’t think of the name). It’s worth the walk to discover the most interesting (and unusual) altar We’ve seen inside an old Catholic church.

    I was also fascinated by the story of Devil’s Bridge, the most popular being the Devil had to take the goat in exchange for the first human soul to appear before him as payment for constructing the bridge! While I was admiring the bridge whilst waiting for the bus to take us back to Bagni di Lucca, I met a lovely Italian couple on their Saturday trip from Florence. They told me their version of the story similar to the one I just mentioned. Perhaps this story is well-known in Italy?

  2. Actually-I think the story goes like this…The architect hired by the council to build the bridge made a deal with the devil-If you will help me finish this bridge I will give you whatever you want. The devil of course wanted the soul of the first one to stroll over the bridge. When the bridge was complete, the builder and townspeople tricked the devil by sending over a dog instead! (I bought the book from a book store in Bagni Di Lucca this fall-we are one of the growing who have bought a small but quaint piece of Tuscany).

  3. Thanks, Melonie, for your version. Yes, it’s interesting how those stories develop and circulate over time. I love the timelessness of this bridge, probably because it’s so old and still stands the ravages of time. John and I feel so fortunate to explore this beautiful part of Tuscany.

  4. My relatives live in Corsagna I have been on that bridge about 100 times . I’m always in awe. The view no matter where you stand is outstanding.

    • It is incredible isn’t it. When I take the bus from bagni di Lucca to Lucca, I always sit on the river side of the bus so I get a good view of the bridge. I never tire of looking at it. It is beautiful in any season.

  5. […] here to see the Devil’s Bridge in spring and learn a bit more about […]

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