About 15m high, with a range of about 37 meters between the slope of Mt. Basso along the right bank of torrent Stura and the slope of the spur-shaped mountain called Mt. Buriasco, housing the castle and the fortified town built by the lord of Turin Landolfo (1011-1038) (A. Cavallai Murat).
Its building was decided on 1st June 1378 by Credenza di Lanzo chaired by the lord of the castle Aresmino Provana. In order to face the expense of 1,400 florins, a toll on wine was imposed for ten years. In 1564 the Council of Credenza di Lanzo ordered the building of a door on the bridge to avoid the plague which was widespread in Avigliana and adjacent areas.
In the 19th century it was mentioned by Giovanni Prati and Angelo Broferio, and in the 20th century by Nino Costa.
The Legend of Ponte del Diavolo
Many times the local people had tried to build a bridge on torrent Stura, but the violent waters had always swept away the structure. People said that the Devil wanted to prevent the farmers living on the opposite shore to go to the Mass in Lanzo.
A very old hermit lived in a nearby cave: he spent his life in meditation and prayer. The local people asked him to help them, and he talked to the Devil in person! They made a deal: the Devil would have built the bridge in one night, but in return he wanted a man's soul: one soul, one arch!
The day after, after a horrible night, the bridge had been built. And at dawn, the hermit put at the beginning of the bridge a bag containing the promised soul. But the bag contained a dog or, maybe, a little pig! The anger of the Devil was great: he transformed the poor animal into a stone and, crossing the bridge to escape, he left the footprint of his claw in front of S. Rocco and on the opposite shore, on the slope of Mt. Basso.
In very ancient times, Mt. Basso and Mt. Buriasco were united. Behind them, in the basin of Germagnano, there was a large lake collecting the waters from the mountains. They could slowly open a passage in the rampart of rock and earth. The signs of the erosion can be seen in the rocks immediately upstream Ponte del Diavolo, on the left bank, behind S. Rocco Chapel. They are the so-called "giant's kettles", geomorphological phenomena dating back to the Quaternary period. There are 21 of them scattered at different altitudes on 18 meters from the level of torrent Stura. They were studied for the first time in 1882 by Francesco Virgilio from the University of Turin.
The smaller kettles are situated behind the chapel, while the "big kettle" is still partly submerged by the water and undergoes an active process of mechanical erosion given by the whirling movements caused by the narrowing of the gorge and the action of the river pebbles and the sand during the flood periods.
Popular imagination called them "ramine" or pots, since according to the legend they were used by giants or by the devil to cook soup.
Along the mule track of San Rocco, at the beginning of the bridge of the aqueduct, a small fountain with a bronze plaque recalls the 6th Celebration of Piedmont, held in Lanzo in 1973.
The fountain provides the excellent water of Pian della Mussa. The inscription, in the local dialect, was dictated by Ines Poggetto.
It gathers the water mains of the Municipal Aqueduct of Turin, providing the town with the excellent water coming from the springs of Piano della Mussa (1,742m).
They had been purchased in 1896. Their water came to Turin, in Statuto square, on 24th June 1922.
The bridge is 71.40m long and 3m wide. The Municipality of Lanzo was against its building, for environmental reasons. The project was finally accepted and carried out - at 97m far and downstream Ponte del Diavolo. If it has not entirely avoided an environmental damage, it offers a good prospect view of the 14th century monument, enhancing its linear architecture and its bold arched silhouette.
At the beginning of the bridge, along the mule track leading to S. Rocco, the water of Pian della Mussa springs from a small fountain inaugurated in 1973 (6th Celebration of Piedmont).
The bridge of the SP road Lanzo - Cafasse was built in 1911, providing a carriage road between the plain and the Valleys, previously possible only crossing the mule track of Ponte del Diavolo.
Between the bridge of the aqueduct and the bridge of the SP road, a low dam brings water into two channels heading for the plain. The water provides energy for the industries and is also used for irrigation purposes.
On the right shore there is the "Casa del Parco", renovated in the year 2000: it is an essential reference point equipped with toilets and drinkable water. In front of the house, the mule track which, before the building of the SP road, had been for centuries the one and only right-shore access to the Valleys.
On 27th August 1503, the bishop of Turin Giovanni Ludovico Della Rovere allowed the "honorable men" of the community of Lanzo to celebrate Mass in the Oratory of San Rocco, near Ponte del Diavolo. The celebration of the Mass was allowed only on the Saint day which was, at that time, already celebrated on 16th August.
The chapel has a characteristic structure for Valli di Lanzo: a parallelepiped with a rectangular plan, front with tympanum, roof with double layer on a wooden beam framing. In front of the votive chapel, a small portico supported by two strong pillars.
Usually, the chapels built at the entrance of the towns are dedicated to Saint Roch like this one, since the Saint was considered to protect people from the plague. In Valli di Lanzo there are 14 chapels dedicated to Saint Roch; in Italy there are over 3,000.
Every year, in the chapel a Mass is celebrated the day after 15th August, and blessed bread is distributed by the Confraternity of the Holy Cross, which is responsible for the management of the worship.
On the charming pinnacle standing out on the slopes of Mt. Basso, on the right bank of torrent Stura, there is a bronze statue of the Virgin Mary. At night you can see it from far away thanks to the stream of light illuminating it. For the national celebrations of 25th April and 4th November, the Italian flag is hoisted on the mast at the back.
The statue, created by the sculptor Bay, was placed there on 17th May 1959 by the Alpini section of Lanzo and was dedicated to the Fallen of all wars.
You can reach it by taking the trail leaving from the bridge leading to Cafasse.
Next to Ponte del Diavolo there is the chapel dedicated to San Rocco, and above it, the chapel dedicated to San Giacinto. Behind the bridge you can find the giant's kettles.
Entering the Park from the big bend of via Papa Giovanni XXIII, immediately before San Giacinto Chapel, you will meet a characteristic fountain built by the members of San Giacinto Abbey and inaugurated on 17th August 1968.
It is dedicated to Don Giuseppe Cordero (1876 - 1947), the last chaplain of the church of Santa Maria del Borgo and founder, in 1922, of the first scout group in Lanzo.
The cool water springing from the fountain is drinkable: it directly comes from the aqueduct, and therefore it is the same water coming out from the taps of the houses.
On the mountainside, halfway between Ponte del Diavolo and the summit of Buriasco where the castle of the Savoy family used to lie, the little church of San Giacinto dominates torrent Stura. Its presence was already documented in 1653. It was rebuilt in 1730 by Giuseppe Ottaviano Cacherano Osasco della Rocca, who on 1st July 1725 purchased Lanzo from the House of Savoy for 65,000 Liras. The feud had been taken away from the Estense family, who owned it since 1577, with royal decree by Vittorio Amedeo II.
According to the legend, the marquis built the chapel to please the mercy of his wife, and dedicated it to Saint Hyacinth (1183 - 1257), whose worship was increasingly widespread among the Catholic monarchies.
Probably the little church was built on the ruins of a watching tower belonging to the defensive complex of Lanzo Castle, conquered by the French in 1551 and destroyed in 1556.
The interior, very small, preserved the icon of Giuseppe Guglielmino (1813 - 1865), the painter from Val di Susa who painted the nave of the parish church of San Pietro in Vincoli. The current naïf painting is by Gilio Richiardi from Lanzo. It represents the Saint wearing his Dominican clothes while saving with one hand the ciborium and with the other hand the statue of the Madonna, after the Tartarian invasion of the town of Kiev, at that time the capital of Russia. A lily and an open book next to the Saint recall the two main features of his life: chastity and preaching the Gospel.
The Saint is celebrated on 17th August and the celebrations are organized by the Confraternity of the Saint Name of Jesus (church of Santa Maria del Borgo).