Borgo a Mozzano, a village famous for its spectacular medieval bridge
Borgo a Mozzano, a town of just over 7,000 inhabitants, is located at an altitude of 97 meters along the Serchio river in the province of Lucca, about 20 kilometers away from the capital. This village in the Media Valle del Serchio is best known for the presence of a beautiful medieval bridge, the so-called Ponte del Diavolo, which over the years has become the protagonist of countless photographic shots promptly published on all social networks.
For a long time, during the Middle Ages, Borgo a Mozzano was under the control of the Suffredinghi, one of the main noble families of the Serchio Valley. Subsequently, however, Borgo a Mozzano was linked to the city of Lucca and in 1272 it became the seat of a Podestà. In 1562 she became a vicar and in 1615 the municipality of Borgo a Mozzano was established. In any case, the center remained faithful to Lucca until the end of the eighteenth century, when the Republic of Lucca ceased to exist.
During the Second World War, Borgo a Mozzano found itself along the Gothic Line, a defensive line built by the Germans, and was clearly involved in the fighting. In that period all the bridges over the Serchio were destroyed but fortunately the Ponte del Diavolo was spared.
What to see in Borgo a Mozzano
As mentioned, the main attraction of the city is the famous Ponte della Maddalena or Ponte del Diavolo, a medieval bridge that crosses the Serchio river. In addition to the bridge, Borgo a Mozzano has other interesting buildings, including the church of San Rocco, the convent of San Francesco, the church of San Jacopo and the church of the Santissimo Crocifisso to which is also added the Museum of Memory dedicated to the Gothic Line and the events of the Second World War.
Chiesa di San Jacopo
Built in medieval times, the church of San Jacopo was extensively remodeled during the sixteenth century. The visit to this church will allow you to admire some valuable works of art such as the statue of San Bernardino da Siena by Matteo Civitali (1465), the San Iacopo, by Sigismondo Rosa (1708), the statues of the Angel of the Annunciation and of the Virgin of the Annunciation by Benedetto Buglioni and the Magdalene on Earth by Andrea della Robbia (1510).
Chiesa di San Rocco
The one dedicated to San Rocco is a graceful Baroque church which was built on the site where once there was an oratory dedicated to San Sebastiano. The current building dates back to the eighteenth century. Inside there are some works by Luigi Ademollo, the Centurion, the Redeemer and the Baptist and the Distribution of Loaves, and a statue of the Madonna of Lourdes.
Ponte del Diavolo in Borgo a Mozzano
The Ponte della Maddalena or Ponte del Diavolo (Devil’s bridge) is an imposing medieval building that crosses the Serchio river just north of the town of Borgo a Mozzano.
This is undoubtedly the main attraction of Borgo a Mozzano. It is a beautiful medieval humpback bridge with 5 arches of various sizes, one of which is much larger than the others. Probably built at the behest of Countess Matilde di Canossa (11th century), the bridge was remodeled and restored in the 14th century by Castruccio Castracani. The first written information on the bridge comes from a fourteenth-century novel by Giovanni Sercambi.
As mentioned, this bridge is known by two different names: Ponte della Maddalena and Ponte del Diavolo, why?
The first name “della Maddalena” probably derives from a nearby 16th-century chapel, which once contained a statue of the Maddalena, which is now in the church of San Jacopo.
The second name, “del Diavolo”, is the one that hides a more interesting and curious origin. According to a popular legend, this magnificent bridge is not the work of man but of the Devil. In fact, it is said that during the construction of the bridge it was realized that it was impossible to meet the deadline. So the master builder decided to make a compromise with the devil who undertook to complete the bridge in exchange for the soul of the first person who would cross it.
The following night, the devil finished the great arch of the bridge, which we can still admire today. However, the site manager managed to deceive the devil by letting a dog, an all-white Maremma shepherd, cross the bridge, which according to tradition can still be seen today on late October evenings.
Today the bridge is slightly altered compared to its original structure, because in the early 1900s a new arch was opened on the right side of the bridge to allow the passage of the railway line towards the Garfagnana.
What to see around Borgo a Mozzano
From Borgo a Mozzano you can quickly reach all the other towns in the Media Valle del Serchio such as Bagni di Lucca, Barga with its magnificent cathedral, and Ghivizzano. Going up towards the Garfagnana, you will find the villages of Castiglione, Castelnuovo, Pieve Fosciana and Isola Santa, the Fortezza delle Verrucole, the Hermitage of Calomini and Lake Vagli.
Borgo a Mozzano hosts some events every year that bring many people to the town. In April there is the Azalea Market Exhibition, more commonly called “Azalea Festival”, The “Beer Festival” takes place in July, while for Halloween the town hosts a big party that really attracts many people. In the nearby village of Cerreto, the end of winter is celebrated with the Baldoria (the feast of revelry).
How to get to Borgo a Mozzano
Borgo a Mozzano is located about 20 kilometers away from Lucca, 40 km from Pisa and 100 from Florence. In Borgo a Mozzano there is a railway station which is regularly served by regional trains (20 minutes journey from Lucca).
By car, if you come from Lucca (30′) you have to take the State Road 12 and the Provincial Road 20 in the direction of Borgo a Mozzano. If you are coming from the other capitals of Tuscany, you must add the journey to get to Lucca first to this itinerary.