Originating from the peaks of Pizzo Barone, the Verzasca river winds through the Alps down towards Lago Maggiore on the Swiss-Italian border. During its descent, the river passes by quaint mountain villages, roadside churches, and a couple resort towns. However, the river’s most spectacular point of interest is not adjacent to it, but rather hovers right above it: Ponte dei Salti.
Ponte dei Salti is a 400-year-old arched medieval footbridge located just outside the small municipality of Lavertezzo, Switzerland. Built in the 16th century, the bridge still stands today (even after a partial demolition in the 1860s and reconstruction a century later). Besides serving its practical purpose of helping hikers cross a rather large gorge that the river has carved out, Ponte dei Salti offers breathtaking views of the valley with crystal clear water in the foreground.
One additional feature that makes the bridge memorable is its meager safety railing that measures around one foot high. The stone railing is helpful for both nervous tourists and adventure-seeking cliff divers. Yes, you read that right: cliff divers! Or… maybe in this case they are called “bridge divers”. But that shouldn’t be too surprising since Ponte dei Salti literally translates from Italian to mean “jump bridge.”
Ponte dei Salti is notorious for attracting daredevils that are willing to plunge over 50 feet down into the icy cold mountain water. Their reward? Cheers from onlookers lounging on top of the eroded rock formations of the riverbank. (Safely downstream of course!)