The Devil's Bridge in Civita: a legendary bridge

If we were to make a list with all the Devil's Bridges scattered around the world, we would surely lose count!
This designation is traditionally used to refer to a particular type of bridge that, at first glance, seems impossible to keep standing, due to its precarious location. Bridges like this do not look like works that man can build alone, they seem, rather, to be the result of a pact made with the devil!

One of these striking architectural examples is in Civita, a small municipality in the province of Cosenza, in the Pollino National Park. The village, now an Orange Flag town, was already inhabited in Roman times and its ancient name was Castrum Sancti Salvatoris, was called Civita around 1500, by the exiles from Albania who settled here and still populate the city today, forming the linguistic minority Arbëresh.
Today, the Devil's Bridge is somewhat of a symbol of Civita and has always attracted travellers and tourists, eager to see it up close.

According to the latest hypothesis, the construction of this bridge dates back to the Middle Ages, although it was actually built over a pre-existing bridge from Roman times, used to cross the Raganello river.

But what does the Devil's Bridge in Civita look like?

The Devil's Bridge in Civita is made of stone, has the typical 'donkeyback' arch and is 260 metres above the Raganello River. Indeed, the bridge stands on a rather impassable stretch and, observed from afar, it almost appears to be hovering over the river below. Yet at the same time it seems to stand incredibly tall!
This remarkable piece of engineering, precisely because of the characteristics we have analysed, has always tickled the popular imagination, according to which it could not be the work of man, but of devils!

The Legend

According to legend, it was a local landowner who wanted the bridge built: it would have been easier for him to cross the river. Realising that the construction work was ambitious, not to say impossible, he invoked the Devil himself, asking him to build a bridge over the indicated stretch: he would then receive in exchange the soul of the first passer-by along the new bridge. The Devil accepted the pact and within a single night, when a terrible storm was brewing, he built the bridge.
All that was left to do was to wait for the first passer-by to get his soul!
But the landowner made one of his sheep cross the bridge, tricking the devil who then attempted to destroy his own work. However, the architecture was too strong and the devil had no choice but to leave, sinking into a cloud of smoke.


Ironically, on the evening of 28 March 1998, the bridge collapsed due to a heavy thunderstorm; several years of painstaking and precise work were needed to rebuild the bridge on the model of the original structure, which was inaugurated on 25 January 2005.
Studies of archive documents also revealed that the bridge had already collapsed in 1840. It was then rebuilt at the behest of the surrounding municipalities, for whom the bridge over the Raganello was of great strategic and logistical importance!

The Umbra Forest is Apulia!

Whoever hears of the Umbra Forest everything could be imagined, except that it is in Apulia and, to be precise, within the Gargano National Park.

The name 'Umbra', in fact, means shady and is due to the large amount of vegetation and in particular trees that do not let the sun's rays through in some places.

This beautiful nature reserve, which in summer is a true oasis of coolness and refreshment, is transformed in autumn into a painting of beautiful colours in which to immerse oneself.

The trees that have found their home in these forests have an interesting peculiarity: they are uncommon in southern Italy, while they abound in northern regions. Here they can grow precisely because of the cool (and cold) climate that is present all year round.

We are talking about beeches, turkey oaks, maples and linden trees that, together with the holm oaks typical of the Mediterranean vegetation, explode in autumn in a spectacle of golden and reddish hues.  

Some numbers on the Umbra Forest

The Foresta Umbra is located at an altitude of about 800 metres;

its extension comprises about 15,000 hectares;

boasts over 2,000 plant species;

Since 2017, its ancient beech forests have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In short, this reserve is a natural paradise for young and old who, immersed in the colours of nature, with a bit of luck, will be able to encounter badgers, deer and foxes

Visiting the reserve is easy and one can rely on local organisations and cooperatives, which will accompany visitors along pleasant routes. Alternatively, it is also possible to undertake walks and hikes on one's own, relying on the signs and always taking care and acting with full respect for the local flora and fauna.

Are you tireless sportsmen?

In this case, you will not miss the opportunity to walk a variety of routes of all lengths and degrees of difficulty. In addition, the numerous picnic areas are ideal for a restorative break and are equipped with wooden tables and benches.

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