I walked down the abandoned dirt road, and hoped I would remember the way. The road began to narrow and slowly became dirt, then turned to overgrown grass and plants as it ascended up the rocky hills. The path seemed like it had not been walked on for a long time, even though I had come this way only a week before.
The air was misty and there were dark clouds on the horizon, but the air was clear and the grass and trees were bright with moisture. We walked past the abandoned stone houses, and through the forest until we came to a small clearing and the path widened. We came to a fork. On the left the path became still wider and showed tire tracks in the mud. The right fork was narrow, and dipped down out of sight.
We took the right fork, and continued on until the path began to rise again. As the path ascended it became more marked with stones and a small wooden fence, and we came to the bridge. It was a stone bridge moist and dark with the recent rain and shining under the sun. The water that flowed beneath it was clear and blue.
I walked from the soft grass onto the solid bridge and stood looking out down the river towards the valley that we had come from. The dark clouds were closer now, but still I could see the mountains in the distance.
It was quiet and peaceful as we stood there on that bridge, listening to the sound of the water beneath us. I wondered who else had stood here, with their arms leaning on these stones to see the water below. I wondered how many years this old bridge had stood watching over the valley, and just how many feet had crossed over its stones.
History of the Bridge
Though I have chosen to call it “The Forgotten Bridge,” for its seeming abandonment and hidden location in the hills above a small Italian village, the bridge’s true name is “Ponte di Napoleone.”
The bridge was build in 1640, and though it is not known for certain, it is possible that Napoleon had used this bridge as a crossing. Whether Napoleon crossed the bridge or not, it was built well before his time and has been standing ever since.
It is almost 400 years old, but has continued to stand strong, even while other more recent bridges in the area have been destroyed or severely damaged by floods.