Salerno Medieval Aqueduct – Salerno, Italy - Atlas Obscura

Salerno Medieval Aqueduct

Salerno, Italy

According to the legend, this structure was built in a single night with the help of the devil. 


In order to bring water to the nearby monastery of St. Benedict, a massive aqueduct was built during the 9th century in what is now the historic center of Salerno. At the time the city was thriving as one of the most important centers of Italy, under the rule of the Lombards.

The aqueduct consists of two separate branches, joining near the monastery and the old city walls. Here, the tall arches of the aqueducts have been renamed Ponte del Diavolo (Bridge of the Devil), because according to a local legend, it was built in just one night by 12th-century alchemist Pietro Barliario, with the help of demons. The popular superstition also said that passing under the arches at dawn or dusk would result in meeting the devil or some kind of evil spirit. The legend probably comes not only from the ominous appearance of the aqueduct but also from the fact that the area under the arches was inaccessible until the mid-20th century.

According to another legend, the four mythical founders of the Schola Medica Salernitana (Medical School of Salerno), the first and most important medical school in Europe during the Middle Ages, met accidentally under the arches of the aqueduct during a stormy night.

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