logo Museo Galileo - Institute and Museum of the History of Science
  • Pyramids of Abetone.zoom in altra finestra
  • Pyramids of Abetone.zoom in altra finestra

Pyramids of Abetone

Designed by Leonardo Ximenes and erected on the old boundary between the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Duchy of Modena, the pyramids of Abetone are the symbol of one of the most important and efficient works of engineering of the Lorraine period: the construction of the Modenese Royal Road. Promoters of the daring initiative were Grand Duke of Tuscany Peter Leopold and Duke of Modena Francesco III, as the inscriptions on the pyramids recall.

The Modenese Royal Road, known also as the Abetone Pass, connected the Grand Duchy via Pistoia with the Duchy of Modena and thus to the Hapsburg Empire. The new road was made for faster connections with the port of Livorno and had both military and economic value. Begun in 1766 and finished about ten years later, work was directed on Tuscan territory by Leonardo Ximenes, and on the Modenese side by Pietro Giardini. The construction of the route required great planning capabilities, especially in the tract from the Lima to Abetone, where bridges, sharp bends and supporting walls were constructed. The impressive work was crowned by two monumental structures: the bridge over the Lima and the bridge over the Sestaione.


Texts by Graziano Magrini

English translation by Victor Beard

Last update 05/gen/2008