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The Curious Story behind the Symbolic Bridge of Val Trebbia

When in Bobbio, one cannot help but stroll across the uniquely shaped bridge spanning the Trebbia River. However, it’s not just any bridge; locals also call it the Devil’s Bridge due to a captivating legend featuring the Devil himself.

Two primary versions of this legend exist. The first involves the Devil and Saint Colombano, while the second features the Demon and an innkeeper. Read on to explore both renditions of the Devil’s Bridge legend in Bobbio.

The Legend of Devil’s Bridge in Bobbio: The Devil and Saint Colombano

Dating back to the period when Saint Colombano arrived in Bobbio, the first version of the Devil’s Bridge legend unfolds. After completing the construction of a monastery, there arose a need to connect the two banks of the Trebbia River. The Devil appeared to Saint Colombano, offering to build the bridge overnight, but in return, he demanded the first mortal soul to cross it. Surprisingly, the saint accepted. During the night, the Devil summoned other demons to help in construction, resulting in uneven arches of varying lengths and heights.

The next morning, the Devil awaited at the bridge’s end to claim his due. However, Saint Colombano cleverly sent a dog across instead of a person. Enraged and deceived, the Devil kicked the bridge, leaving it crooked ever since. Other versions involve animals crossing, such as a bear previously yoked by the saint or an ass crossing the bridge.

The Legend of Devil’s Bridge in Bobbio: The Devil and the Innkeeper

The second version revolves around the Devil and an innkeeper residing beyond the Trebbia (where a public establishment stands today). Disguised as an old hunchbacked man, the Devil approached the innkeeper, who unknowingly wished for a bridge connecting his tavern to Bobbio, anticipating increased profits. The Devil proposed a deal: the innkeeper’s soul in exchange for the bridge. Though initially dismissive, the innkeeper ultimately agreed, sealing the pact with a handshake.

The next morning, to everyone’s surprise, the bridge appeared. Yet, people soon noticed its challenging humps. The innkeeper’s wife, realizing the bridge’s curse, sought the bishop’s help. A plan was devised, involving a feast to make the Devil drunk while the bridge was blessed with crosses and votive statues.

The Legend of the Devil's Bridge in Bobbio - Gobbo Bridge - Devil's Bridge - newsstand - votive image - stones - Trebbia River
Votive image on the Devil’s Bridge (Credit to Panoramio)

The Devil awoke at dawn, witnessing the bishop raising his pastoral staff. Enraged, he cursed the bridge, threatening floods whenever religious influence waned. Over centuries, the Trebbia occasionally damaged the bridge during floods, lending credence to the story.

Now acquainted with both versions of the legend of Devil’s Bridge in Bobbio, enjoy the breathtaking view of Val Trebbia!

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Article Name
The legend of the Devil's Bridge in Bobbio
Uncover the mystique behind Devil's Bridge in Bobbio, known as Ponte del Diavolo. Dive into the legend—your answer awaits!
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La Scimmia Viaggiatrice