The Bailey bridge, the cycle-pedestrian junction between the two banks of the Tiber

Il ponte di Todi

The Municipality promised it in 2021 and now it is ready. Todi enjoys a new bridge and park on both sides of the Tiber, which goes from Ponte Rio to Pian San Martino.

The bridge is located in the shopping center area, where they have created a green area with a children’s play area and where you can walk with dogs and also walk along the left bank of the Tiber. But the most important thing is the Bailey bridge – abandoned for years, semi-destroyed and buried by vegetation – it was cleaned, restored and inaugurated in December 2023. When evening falls it is very suggestive. A beautiful level lighting illuminates the walking surface while other lights illuminate the upper parts and the two towers at the ends.

Its story

I will quickly summarize the history of this bridge, which like the Morandi bridge has a surname. When, during the Second World War, the retreating Germans blew up the bridges, the Allies quickly replaced them with metal bridges invented by the Englishman Donald Bailey. They were made from metal modules that assembled quickly and withstood the passage of Sherman tanks. Once the war was over, the blown up bridges were quickly rebuilt and the Baileys were moved to where they could still be used. This one arrived in Todi from Tuscany in 1954. Until then, to go from Pian San Martino and Ponte Rio you needed Giovanni’s boat. With the construction of the bridge, the ferryman Giovanni lost his job, but the cars were finally able to cross the river. However, the bridge underwent some changes compared to the original: it is the only one of its kind because it is also supported by sturdy lateral cables which, with the towers at the ends, make it a small Brooklyn bridge.

Its new life

Its new life has transformed it into a cycle/pedestrian place and has opened up a notable green space for the people of Todi and the large tourist community that lives and passes through the area. The opportunities are mainly linked to cycle tourism, which starts from here and leads everywhere. In fact, the slopes to reach the Furioso rapids begin from here with two routes: a blue one, anti-clockwise and 16 km long which follows the right bank of the Tiber and a longer one, marked in yellow, which goes clockwise for 30 km: the The stretch is long but, halfway through, you can stop in Doglio, a pretty village with a beautiful castle.


Il sentiero

The path

Still starting from the bridge you can turn your bike south and connect to the Amerina track that connects Todi to Amelia: it is 100 km, round trip, strongly desired by the two municipalities and by two-wheel athletes. If, however, you decide to go north, you reach the Media Valle Tour route, which passes through 10 municipalities and runs for 260 km. The cycle path that starts on the small Bailey bridge first crosses Umbria then connects with the national cycle path and then, if desired, also with the European one that reaches Sweden and Finland.

The cycle paths are all ready, passable and well marked and also accessible to disabled people. Naturally, the routes that are done by bike can also be done on foot or on horseback. I walked along a stretch of the blue circuit, on a weekday and around 12. I met lots of people: mothers with strollers, joggers, people walking like me, I saw the traces of the passage of horses, I met a English lady with her dog. The stretch I followed is flat and here and there there are benches to rest, but the thing I liked most was the peace and contact with nature. The cars are far away and I only heard the sound of the Tiber and the small rapids at that point. All these tracks, which add up to 400 km, were traced by Walter Nilo Ciucci, president of the Uncover Umbria association, with the agreement of all the municipalities. However, the organizers of such a work have a dream. At the end of 2024, the train connecting Terni to Sansepolcro, which has been out of service for many years, will be restored and the Media Valle Tour cycle path crosses it in several points.

The organizers of the cycle paths would like to see carriages for cyclists also established, as happens in Austria, in San Candido near the border with Austria, and in many other European countries. Those trains that cross cycle paths have carriages dedicated only to bicycles, which are loaded, hooked up and blocked. Cycling has now become a sport practiced by millions of people, who spend a few hours or days on the saddle. So it is a new tourism that must be followed and cared for, to keep up with the times and it seems to me that Todi and the other municipalities do everything possible.

Translation made by an automatic tool

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Renata Covi