The Scaliger Bridge in Verona, majestic past and present
Verona’s Scaliger Brige – also known as Castel Vecchio Bridge because it connects the city’s late-medieval castle to the Adige’s left bank – was described by author and historian Valerio Massimo Manfredi in one of his books: “Although I am well aware that it was almost completely destroyed in a bombing and later completely rebuilt, I feel like it is the most beautiful, most medieval, most arched bridge of all, and every time I walk across it I imagine paying the toll to the devil… who knows why…”
The bombing Manfredi mentions occurred on April 24th 1945, when the fleeing German troops blew up all of Verona’s bridges. The Castel Vecchio Bridge had been built between 1354 and 1356 under Cangrande II della Scala, and had remained intact for at least five centuries; it was only in the early 1800s that the French eliminated the battlements and pruned a tower, while in 1848 Radetzky rigged it with mines but then did not make them explode.
Magnificent, and a daring feat of engineering in its day (with over 48 meters of arch indulging the currents, followed by two smaller ones that are 29 and 24 meters), right after the war it was rebuilt identical to the original one, using as much as possible of the recovered materials.
So today it is old and new, but always majestic.