Monday, 7 December 2015

The Bridge of the Cast Iron Sisters

In the middle of Parco Sempione (Simplon Park) in Milan, crossing a narrow section of the lake, stands a 19th century cast iron bridge. Its official name is il Ponte delle Sirenette (the Mermaid or Siren Bridge), but its nickname is il Ponte delle Sorelle Ghislini (the Bridge of the Cast Iron Sisters).

It was the first metal bridge in Italy and was originally installed over the Naviglio della Martesana, one of the canals in the Navigli district in 1842. In 1930 when the canal was filled in, the bridge was moved a couple of kilometres to its present location in the park.

The bridge is a lowered arch, with cast iron mermaids holding paddles decorating each of the four parapets. The mermaids were cast at the Rubini, Scalini, Falk and Company ironworks on Lake Como. The bridge was designed by Francesco Tettamanzi.

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