ponte di sant'Agata

The legendary St. Agatha’s Bridge

Not far from Genoa Brignole Train Station, we can find a gem amidst the hectic city traffic: the Sant’Agata Bridge.

Placed alongside the more linear and modern Castelfidardo Bridge, it connects the city center with the San Fruttuoso district.

The history of St. Agatha’s Bridge

The St. Agatha Bridge, mentioned as early as in 12th-century documents, was built at the dawn of the Middle Ages, probably between the 7th and 8th centuries. It was built on a pre-existing Roman bridge, and was an important link between the city and the territories of the eastern Genovesato, the ancient Via Aurelia.

The bridge is placed over a large area of the Bisagno River (floodplain area), purposely left free of buildings to make floodwaters flow. Built with 28 13-meter arches, it was thus just under 400 meters long and, according to some credited historians, was among the longest bridges of its time. In fact, it started from the Borgo degli Incrociati and reached the church of St. Agatha, which it was later named after.

It was destroyed by a historic flood of the Bisagno Creek on September 30, 1452 and was rebuilt in 1535.

In modern times, with the building of the San Fruttuoso area, the river underwent a drastic reduction of its riverbed. A similar fate befell the St. Agatha Bridge whose arches were reduced to six. Unfortunately, On November 7, 1970, the bridge was again heavily damaged by the historic flood that caused two of the five arches to collapse.

In the subsequent flood phenomena of the 1990s, the archway on the east bank collapsed, decreeing its final closure.

What can be observed of the ancient bridge are only a few remnants: two arches to which some metal rods were inserted to prevent total collapse.

Few know, however, that it is possible to see the two terminal arches in the courtyard of the Church of St. Agatha, while other remnants may have remained under the road surface or in the foundations of the buildings that line the Bisagno.

Currently, there is a commitment from the municipality to consider, with a sustainable project, the rehabilitation of the St. Agatha Bridge.

A legend on the bridge of St. Agatha

An ancient legend going back to February 5, 1693, refers to it as the “Bridge of Mysteries.”

It was the day of St. Agatha’s Fair, a market that is also traditionally held in the present day. A group of six Carmelite novices had gone to the market to buy ducklings, fruit trees and everything else needed for the convent.

A menacing band of miscreants from nearby St. Martin’s Hill appeared before them. The nuns became frightened and fled toward the bridge, throwing themselves into the bed of the Bisagno River.

The sinister types dove into the water wishing to lust after the six girls, but they failed in their evil purpose because instead of the maidens they found six white marble statues of women.

St. Agatha’s Fair

The origin of the fair is linked to ancient end-of-winter rituals, and it takes its name near the convent of St. Agatha, once outside the city walls on the banks of the Bisagno River, where the market gardens that supplied the city with fresh produce once stood.

As early as medieval times, during the Fair breeders and farmers, in fact, would descend to the valley floor to meet with merchants from distant places making deals and buying seeds at the time when the sowing of the fields was being prepared.

Every year after the “Merla” days, the tradition is repeated on the banks of the Bisagno River in the district of S.Fruttuoso.

Where to stay

Just under a kilometer from the city center and a hundred meters from Brignole train station, Urban Flora is the perfect place for you to fully enjoy when we have described.

With us you will experience a Scandinavian-modern look, where fresh and pleasant plants will make you enjoy as much relaxation as possible and for an unforgettable vacation. All rooms provide a private bathroom, smart TV and free Wi-Fi that will make you feel right at home.

Book your room now or contact us to ask for more information.

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