What you are looking at is Ponte Alidosi, a centuries-old symbol of the village of Castel del Rio.
It has stood over the Santerno river for over five hundred years. A true masterpiece of civil engineering, the bridge has a humpback structure with a single arch of 42 metres and a maximum height over the river bed of nineteen.
The Governor of Ravenna and Cesena, Obizzo Alidosi, commissioned this majestic work in 1499 from Master Andrea Gurrieri, from Imola. The bridge was built to testify to the power of the family.
Five hundred gold ducats were allocated to the work, but it is difficult to establish its value today. We know that a 6 ducat gold coin weighed 8.80 grams, so 500 ducats correspond to almost a kilo of gold.
The construction works lasted over twenty years, increasing the commerce of the Santerno Valley and favouring Castel del Rio as a market area.
Inside, five rooms probably built for structural reasons, allowed guards to collect gabelles or taxes on the trade and consumption of goods. The rooms may also have been inhabited or even used for detention purposes.
Considerable amounts of restoration work have taken place over the years. In 1897, the bridge was proclaimed a national monument.
It is the only bridge in the entire Santerno Valley that survived almost intact from the passage of war in autumn and winter 1944.The interior rooms inspired the imagination of well-known cartoonist Magnus, who repeatedly set his comics in these evocatively mysterious environments.
The recent restoration work on both the exterior and interior, also creating an exhibition space, has enhanced the tourist experience and emphasises its imposingly, seductive beauty.
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