Located on the Serchio River some 15 miles (24 kilometers) north of Lucca, the Devil's Bridge (Ponte del Diavolo or Ponte della Maddalena) is one of the region’s most striking landmarks. The stone, pedestrian-only bridge dates to the 11th century and was used by religious pilgrims. It’s recognizable for its irregularly shaped arches.
Given its curved shape and the appealing way it reflects off the sparkling waters of the Serchio River, it’s hard to imagine why this scenic landmark was nicknamed “Devil’s Bridge.” According to local lore, the Ponte della Maddalena earned its diabolical nickname because the master builder, under pressure to construct it, made a deal with the devil to hasten its completion. In reality, the bridge was likely commissioned by Countess Matilda of Tuscany, and it was used as an important crossing for pilgrims traveling between France and Rome. A statue of Mary Magdalene once stood at one end (the source of the landmark’s formal name).
The bridge features on both guided and self-led driving tours of the region; given its proximity to central Lucca, it’s easy to plan a quick sightseeing excursion.
Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- Measuring 131 feet (40 meters) across, Devil's Bridge is reserved for pedestrians, though its steepness makes it inaccessible for visitors with limited mobility.
- At its highest point, the bridge is over 59 feet (18 meters) tall and offers the perfect vantage point for capturing photos of the surrounding scenery.
- The bridge was restored in 1836 following a flood, and an additional arch was added at the turn of the 20th century to allow space for a railroad track.
Officially located in the town of Borgo a Mozzano, Devil’s Bridge is just a quick trip from central Lucca. It is roughly a half-hour drive along the Via Statale 12 to Via Ludovica/SP20. Alternatively, travel via the E10 bus. Approximately 15 trains operated by Trenitalia also run daily between Lucca and Borgo a Mozzano.When to Get There
Devil’s Bridge is a highlight attraction all throughout the year, but it’s best to visit during sunny weather to really appreciate its beauty (and to capture the best views of the surrounding scenery from its highest point).
Other Nearby Attractions
If you’re eager to see the bridge for yourself, make a day of it and discover Borgo a Mozzano’s other attractions. The charming town is home to the impressive Church of San Jacopo (which features works from the Della Robbia school), as well as the pretty Convent of San Francesco. It also hosts an azalea festival and market every April.