The Devils' Bridge

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The Devils' Bridge is a medieval aqueduct placed in the historical center of Salerno (via Arce).


The building is made up of two different perpendicular branches. Its arches are extremely high and not very thick, but the monument has been perfectly preserved during the centuries. This aqueduct is the symbol of the blending between the ancient and the modern, becoming integral part of the city.

It was built in the Ninth century and it was mainly used to provide water to St.Benedict church. There is a mysterious legend hidden behind the origin of this medieval building. According to it, the aqueduct was built in one single night by the alchemist and doctor Pietro Barliario1 with the help of the devils. In fact people also know it as ''ponte dei diavoli’’.2


This aqueduct is also related to the history of Schola Medica Salernitana, because it is the place of the meeting among the founders of the school: the latin Salernus, the greek Pontus, the Jewish Helinus and the Arabian Adela3. According to the legend, they found shelter under the arches of the aqueduct on a rainy day. Salernus was wounded and the others helped him to cure his injury. So, they realised that they were all doctors and they decided to found a new medical school together. This legend is convincing, since, in the medieval age, Salerno was a meeting point of different cultures and traditions.4.

  • Main text and photos by Laura De Rosa ti.orebil|79asored.arual#| and Claudia Tagarelli moc.liamg|89illeragataidualc#| (November 2017)


  • Salvatore De Renzi, Storia documentata della Scuola Medica Salernitana, Edizioni Ripostes, Napoli 2000
  • Italo Gallo, Salerno e la sua scuola medica, Arti grafiche Boccia Edizioni, Salerno 1994
  • Antonio Mazza, Historiarum Epitome De Rebus Salernitanis, Ex Typographia Io: Francifci Paci, Neapoli 1681
  • Maria Pasca, La scuola medica salernitana, Cassa del risparmio salernitana, Napoli 1987
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