In 1625, on the ancient Via Consolare Valeria which in many parts coincides with the current state road 113, a few hundred metres from Porta Palermo, the San Leonardo bridge was built. It was designed by the royal architect Agatino Daidone and it took the name of the river that marks the boundaries of the city. The single-arched structure rests on one side on the Patare cliff, now Santa Marina, and on the other on the ruins of an ancient bridge, probably dated back to the Roman era. The two epigraphs in Latin show us that the bridge had previously been rebuilt five times in the same place. Indeed, the work completed in 1625 was the sixth reconstruction, although the certainty was that this time the bridge would be eternal, as the inscription reports “a perpetua sicurità dei viandanti”/ eternal security of the travellers. At the highest point of the bridge, there is the figure of a sleeper together with an epigraph “secura quiete”.

The San Leonardo bridge is a monument at the roots of the area’s identity. It combines the aesthetic aspect of its massive structure with the functional one, guaranteeing the connection with Trabia and Palermo at a time when the island did not have a well-developed road network. Since 2018, it has been one of the Sicilian Region’s Places of Identity and Memory. The San Leonardo Bridge, Place of Identity and Memory of the Sicilian Region, has been managed and promoted since 2013 by the association Rodoarte. ‘’Since its establishment, the association has sought to implement and create all those opportunities for promoting the territory and the heritage englobed in it, which often suffer from neglection and indifference. Safeguarding, recovering, preserving and promoting are the guidelines of the association’s work over cultural and environmental heritage and its universal usability’’. Moreover, the association invited the municipal administration to request the inclusion of the bridge among UNESCO sites. Every year, the ‘’Ponte San Leonardo in Festa’’ takes place, it is a day organised by the Rodoarte association in which the bridge is opened, with the possibility to visit it and take part on several entrainment events as the model aircraft exhibition, organised by the model aircraft group from Termini, and the historical cars exhibition. You can attend the motorcycle rally of the ‘’Vespa Club Termini Imerese’’ or bring and fly your own kite. The river San Leonardo is a watercourse that has its source in the territory of Corleone and flows into the Tyrrhenian Sea, just outside Termini Imerese. Its meanders cross the territories of more than eighteen Sicilian municipalities.

The docu-film ‘’San Leonardo, una strada verso il cuore’’ produced by the Rodoarte association and EsperienzaSicilia.it will focus on the territories crossed by the San Leonardo river: their history, their natural landscapes, their cuisine and the products of their land, their traditions and, above all, their inhabitants. In 2019, during work on the adjacent bridge of the statal road 113, a relict wall of one of the bridges on which Agatino Daidone built his magnificent bridge was unexpectedly found. This discovery proves the previous attempts to cope with the hydric capacity of the San Leonardo river.

Fun Facts

– In ancient times, San Leonardo Bridge was considered one of the 3 wonders of Sicily together with Mount Etna and the Fountain of Arethusa in Syracuse.

– In 1954 San Leonardo Bridge was the set where some scenes of the film ‘’Vacanze d’amore’’ were shot whose cast included Lucia Bosè and Domenico Modugno.

BIBLIOGRAFIA

  • “A spasso con Stenio” di Manuela Sinatra e Barbara Indorante

SITOGRAFIA

 

Si ringrazia: Alice Scalia per aver realizzato la traduzione

di Katia Anello