Borgo a Mozzano Things to Do
The people were stunned and unable to believe what had been accomplished, and went to congratulate this craftsman who ordered them not to cross the bridge before sunset. In the meantime, the builder got on his horse, a little worried if the truth be told, and set off for Lucca to ask the Bishop for advice. At that time the Bishop was Saint Frediano. This saintly man told him not to worry and to allow the devil to take the soul of the first person to cross the bridge, and told him to let a pig cross first. This was done and the devil, furious at having been tricked, threw himself into the waters of the Serchio, and has not been seen in the area since.
Hahaha, I thought this was a fun story. And standing at this bridge, I could almost believe it. The structure is so different, and going up the bridge is much steeper than you would expect. It is old, and you can feel the history of the place. And this legend.... yes... I have to admit... it fits perfectly in this location.
Once upon a time a clever and respected master builder lived in a village on the banks of the Serchio River. The inhabitants of the village approached him, asking him to build a bridge to connect their village with the one across the river. He immediately set to work, but he soon saw that the work was not progressing as quickly as he'd promised his fellow citizens it would, and being a man of his word and one who always fulfilled his obligations, he became very unhappy and desperate. He continued to put great effort into the work day and night so as to finish the task within the time allowed for in the contract, but the work continued to proceed very slowly while the days flew by. One evening while the builder was sitting alone on the banks of the Serchio looking at the work and thinking of the shame and discredit he would suffer for not having completed it in time, the devil appeared to him in the form of a respectable businessman.
He went straight up to the builder telling him that he'd be able to finish the bridge in a single night. The man didn't believe what the devil was saying, but listened anyway, and in the end accepted his proposal. Naturally the devil wanted something in return: the builder was to undertake to give him the soul of the first person that crossed the bridge when it was completed. The builder accepted and the following day the village had its beautiful bridge that can still be seen today in Borgo a Mozzano.......
Go to the next tip to read the rest of the story...
Here you can have a good look at the Maddalena's bridge or also called 'Devil's Bridge' (ponte del diavolo). The bridge connects the two banks of the river Serchio at the height of Borgo a Mozzano. Look at the construction of this bridge, isn't it beautiful! The construction goes back to the era of the Countess Matilde di Canossa (1046-1115), that had large influence and power on this zone of Tuscany, the 'Garfagnana'. But this current bridge is from the first years of the 14th century.
The form of this medieval bridge is a 'donkey back' with asymmetric arches. These form of bridges are quite frequent here. The bridge is also known as Devil's Bridge' in force of a popular legend.
Borgo a Mozzano Hotels
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Borgo a Mozzano Transportation
And here you have a clearer map of where 'Grotta del Vento' is. The bridge at 'borga a Mozzano' is not so far from Bagni di Lucca. Both are situated along the road from Lucca to Massa.
This gives you a rough idea where the 'Grotto del Vento' and the 'Ponte della Maddalana' are. Click on the map, so you can see the red little dot where the grotto and bridge are located.
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Borgo a Mozzano Warnings and Dangers
This warning and danger is not about the 'grotta del Vento' itself, but about the road that took me there.
The last few kilometers before you reach the grotta, you have to take a small winding road with overhanging cliffs, tunnels and small bridges. There had been floodings in this area a few weeks before en due to that parts of the road were washed away. But nothing serious, so with some good manouvering I got well on my way. But halfway the road the police stops me.... oops... can I continue my journey? The policeman tells me something in Italian, mmmm, my Italian is not so good, so I had no clue what he was talking about! I kind of guessed that I had to park the car, and yes... that was the case. As the road was washed away, a bus was going to pick me up and bring me to the cave. Well.... that sounded good to me! Hahaha, at least I didn't have to drive any further on that scary road :-))
Arghhhh, had I only known, than I would have been seriously worried at that point! But without any worries I hopped on the bus, which took me over a small dirt road further along the mountain. It was impossible to go faster than 10 kilometers an hour on this dirt road, but the busdriver thinks totally different about that. Arghhhh!!!! He races along the edges of the cliffs with full speed! Eeeks! The upcoming traffic (which are impossible to see because all the turns the road makes) are warned by a constant honking of the horn.
20 minutes later, I get out of the bus very much relieved, phew... I survived that ride! Little did I know than that the way back would be even worse! This driver was even more insane than the other one..... arghhhh, he goes twice as hard.... in a big thunderstorm :-(( But as you can see, hahaha, I survived it all :-))
Borgo a Mozzano Tourist Traps
After a scary drive (see warning and dangers), I finally got to the 'Grotta del vento' or Wind cave. Hmmmm, I think I should call it a tourist trap. It is nothing spectacular, and not worth the long drive over here. Hahaha, or is it maybe because I had seen too many caves upto now??? I seen quite a few in the previous vacations, and this one couldn't excite me anymore.
The one thing I did find interesting is how this cave got its name. The name derives from the violent air current which runs through the cave, due to the presence of two openings which are situated at different levels. The lower opening is situated at 627m. above sea level, and the higher opening is 800m. further up at over 1400m. above sea level. The internal temperature constantly maintains itself at 10,7 degrees centigrade. And that makes the air current during the summer cooler than the external air, which is heavier, therefore creating an 'outgoing' wind at the lower entrance (incoming at the higher entrance). In winter this situation is reversed. The speed of the wind is directly proportional to the difference between the internal and external temperatures. You won't notice these strong wind during tours, because the armoured door blocks the air current almost completely.
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