Curiosity of Rimini. Stories and legends of a millennial bridge The Devil’s Bridge.
The ancient Tiberius Bridge is also known as the ‘Devil’s Bridge’ a secular legend that tells about its origin and its might.
Started by the Emperor Augustus in the 14th century, it was completed by his adoptive son Tiberius in 21 A.C. From its latest builder, this admirable example of Roman technique, took its name and was covered with the legend that today it still accompanies its millennial stones.
It took seven years for Tiberius to complete the construction of the Ariminum Bridge, begun by his father. The work went by slowly due to accidents and newly built parts collapsing. It seemed to be a work destined to not see the light, and to undermine the emperor’s glory. So Tiberius, after praying in vain to all gods played his last card and interrogated the only supernatural being who could give a hand: the devil. And as the legend is told it seems that he really did.
Tiberius called on him to come and help him. And he did so: he would build the bridge, but in return he would take the soul of the first who crossed it. The emperor accepted, and the devil started to work. The construction of the bridge was completed in one night and was solid and impressive. It was the moment of the inauguration and the official procession was ready for the parade, when the emperor remembered that he had to get rid of the covenant with the devil. Tiberius ordered that, before everyone else, a dog had to pass on the new bridge. So it was, and the devil, who was waiting for his soul on the other side of the bridge, was surprised.
Shocked with anger,he decided to take revenge instantly, and destroy the bridge. He kicked the stone several times, but in vain, it was built too well, it was indestructible. So he had to go, but to testify of this episode, there are the remains of goats’ imprints on one of the big stones on the side that overlooks the city. It remained standing for almost twenty centuries, leaving it unscathed from the wars, enduring urban traffic, makes one wonder if it really is the work of the devil!
The Devil’s Stone
There is another legend, or rather another version of the legend, in regards to the famous Tiberius Bridge. Here is what has been passed down. Before operating on this exceptional achievement to be finished, the Emperor Tiberius addressed the Father of the Gods in this way: “Lord,where can I find the material suitable for this construction? his God replied: “At the Mount of Perticara you will find fine sandstone and in abundance”.
The Emperor asked how he could bring it back to Rimini. Herecomes the devil’s intervention. “Only the Devil can help you with this taskand I will pass on the word.” This is the proposal: “Spirit of the darkness, the people of Romagna are building a bridge over the Marecchia and theyneed you to transport the stones from Perticara to here. If you help I will give the first soul that cross the bridge.”
The evil accepted the task and immediately began to work. The works were completed soon. Now it was God’s turn to keep his word, but he first sent a dog across the bridge. The devil, disappointed and angry, refused to carry the last cargo. So at Mount Perticara there was still one boulder left, destined for the Tiberius Bridgein Rimini, and so the “The Devil’s Stone” “Sasso del Diavolo’ was born.