As with many other bridges in Italy, the history of Ponte Gobbo, in Bobbio, Emilia Romagna, is wrapped in legend. As is often the case, the most popular traditional version of the story has the devil play a key role, tempting man with his promises – only to end up mocked and humiliated by someone smarter than him. The hero in the local tale is Saint Columbanus, the Irish monk and missionary who founded an abbey in Bobbio in 614.
The story goes that Satan hoped to get a human soul in exchange for building the bridge, but was tricked… and took out his fury on the bridge itself, with a kick so powerful the structure became lopsided, or “humpbacked” (hence the Italian nickname, Ponte Gobbo).
In fact, the Dark Ages’ bridge – leaping 273 meters over the Trebbia – is gibbous due to the many renovations to which it was subject over the years, especially after the 15th century.
Despite the devil’s anger, and the centuries that have passed, the Humpbacked Bridge is still where it always was, joining the two sides of this wonderful town.