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  • Chain Bridge (Lorenzo Nottolini), Fornoli, Bagni di Lucca.zoom in altra finestra
  • Chain Bridge (Lorenzo Nottolini), Fornoli, Bagni di Lucca.zoom in altra finestra

Chain Bridge

Begun in 1840 by Lorenzo Nottolini on commission to Duke of Lucca Carlo Lodovico di Borbone, the suspension bridge with iron chains over the Lima Stream connects Fornoli (Bagni di Lucca) and Chifenti (Borgo a Mozzano).

For its time, the bridge presented innovative technological solutions, which the author had acquired during a recent trip to England, where there were already illustrious models like Hammersmith Bridge in London and Menai Bridge in Bangor, Wales. Moreover, the use of iron in the construction of suspension bridges could already be seen in Florence, which had two important examples built by the French company of brothers Marc and Jules Séguin: the San Leopoldo bridge at the Parco delle Cascine , and the San Ferdinando bridge near the gate of San Niccolò. Nottolini’s work was later interrupted by bureaucratic problems tied to the passage of the Duchy of Lucca to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany (1847).

Only after the Unification of Italy were works resumed and terminated, and the bridge was inaugurated in 1860. Mined by retreating German troops during World War II (all of the support structures were blown up), the bridge was then reconstructed on its original plan, thanks to the efforts of engineer Luigi Pfanner, and inaugurated in 1953. On the World Monuments Watch list of the one-hundred world sites to save, the bridge has recently been subjected to restoration.

Nottolini also designed other bridges on Lucca territory, though without the innovative conception of the Chains Bridge. These include the bridge of Monte San Quirico near Lucca, over the Serchio River, the stone bridge with a lowered arch over the Fegana stream, and the bridge with round arch over the Camaione stream (1839-1841, 1946) near Bagni di Lucca.


Texts by Graziano Magrini

English translation by Victor Beard

Last update 26/feb/2008