Sunday, April 17, 2011

Roana Bridge

This famous bridge linking the town of Roana to Canove is one of the most famous enduring representative of Italy's modern history in the Vicentine hills.  During its initial construction in 1906, it represented the first time that the seven communities of the Asiago plateau were geographically linked, Roana being previously separated from Canove and Asiago by the deep Valdassa.  Not only did it make commerce and transportation between communities easier, it was also seen as a manifestation of the unity between the Cimbrian communities of the plateau.  During World War I, this bridge was further seen as the connection between the Germanic north and the Italian south as it became a strategic connection between the north and south against the war with the Austro-Hungarians. Francesco Baracca, one of the most celebrated military aviator and daredevil during the war, was said to have flown under one of its arches.  The bridge, however, was destroyed during the war.  Plans were immediately drawn out after the war to rebuild the bridge, the construction of which was completed by Mussolini in 1924.

Nowadays, other than being a major connection for the people of Vicenza to the prime skiing slopes in Roana, the bridge's  fame lies largely on the large number of suicides committed on it.  Much like any tragedy, the people that live near the bridge have turned tragedy into cynical humor: a famous Vicentino advice for the desperate and inconsolable is that "there will always be Roana bridge."

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