(Territory of Montecalvo Irpino - AV)


It is a bridge pier with only the fastening of the arch spans sticking out of it. The ruin is also called the Devil’s bridge, as it was once narrated in a hagiographic tale how, among other things, the Devil built and destroyed it in just one night’s time, by black magic. All around the tall and uneven pier there aren’t to be seen human dwellings, so the solitary and gullible night wayfarers who could not avoid passing by were really seized by terror looking at it.
The truth is that the pier is the only remain of a Roman bridge which, like the other one called “Ponte delle Chianche”, in Buonalbergo territory  stood once along the Trajan Road, built at the beginning of the II cent. A.D. The road linked Benevento and Brundisium more easily than the more ancient Appian Road which crossed the Apennine through Aeclanum. The Santo Spirito Bridge was probably longer and higher than the Chianche Bridge, as it had in this case to span a river and its steep banks, the Miscano.
Among the cobble stones of this river bed, which today is almost dry all the year round, it was found, some decades ago, a milestone whose dimensions were unusually large, Quite certainly that met the epigraph purpose, because it informed also about the patron of the work in a celebratory way.
What remains of the tablet is now to be found at Malvizza di Sopra, but its original site was probably at one of the bridge ends.
But as it can be judged from our photos what remains of the epigraph is almost nothing. However, “-ONTES” was probably PONTES (“bridges”), and “BRVNDISIVM” the final destination of the road, so we advance as a hypothesis that the inscription informed about all the bridge built all along the entire Trajan Road and the authority that built them. “–(I?)A – SVA” we reconstruct as PECVNIA SVA (“with his money”); and “P - P” as “Pater Patriae” (Father of the Fatherland”), which is one of Trajan’s official titles that can be read in the dedicatory inscription of the Trajan Arch of Benevento, the gate of the road.
On the other hand, who could finance that road, with its bridges, arches, etc. if it was not the munificent M. Ulpius Nerva Traianus, who is remembered as the most profligate builder in the imperial times of grandiose and beautiful monuments, in Rome and in many other places? Because of the immense expenses he encountered he risked almost a financial default, even though he was the emperor.
We didn’t succeed in ascertaining whether the epigraph has ever been registered in the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum (C.I.L.)(Sect. n. )


© Museo virtuale delle valli del MISCANO e dell' UFITA