Featured in RB Explore Photography Page April – 19 – 2013
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Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities, Superintendence for the Architectural, the Landscape, the Historical Heritage. Artistic and Ethno-Anthropological of Italy
HDR processed in Photomatix Pro 3.1.3 with 5 RAW image -2 -1 0 +1 +2 , then processed using CS4 – Tripod Manfrotto 055XB + 468MG Ball Head
Nikon D300 Nikon 12/24
Ponte delle Catene – Fornoli . Italy
Ponte delle Catene (Chain Bridge) is one of the first suspension bridges ever built in Italy. The wooden and metallic catwalk is held by metal cables supported by piers. The traditional design of the piers, which echoes the roman (and Napoleonic) triumphal arches, and the advanced construction technique mark the style of the architect of the bridge Lorenzo Nottolini (1787-1851).
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.
In 2003, the restoration of the bridge has begun. It is financed by the Province of Lucca with the contribution of the World Monument Found American Express.