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The bridge at Roana

The bridge of Roana (ph: Roberto Costa Ebech).

The bridge of Roana (ph: Roberto Costa Ebech).

The problem of the connection between Canove and Roana overcoming the Val d’Assa took a long public debate in the late 19th century, and led to the drawing by Eng. Aurelio Slaviero and subsequent approval in 1894 of the draft of a new bridge. The beginning of the works were delayed, however, by the friction between the two villages, and thus on August 14, 1895 a crowd of Roana’s women led by Togna Turca, the “Cimbrian woman” mentioned in an inscription on the bridge, and described by Mario as “a beautiful, lively and long-tongued woman, with dark hair and blue eyes,” reached the town hall, situated as it is today in Canove, and held it under siege.

The events as reconstructed by Rigoni Stern from some chronicles of the time were very lively: “The guards and the soldiers made a barrier, but the women overwhelmed them. The soldiers returned to the charge and Togna began to curse and swear like a devil in hell. She untied her bodice up to the stomach and said, “Shoot at this chest!” In front of that white splendour the soldiers were dazzled, then she sat in the chair of the President saying, “Out of here! We command here, this is our building.” The week after the municipality gave the assurance that the works would soon be started, and in fact they began in 1896, but they were very slow and lasted until 1906. The bridge was 135 meters long, with a maximum height of 80, and it cost half a million lire of the time.

However, it remained active for only a decade, because on May 22, 1916 the Italian troops retreating due to the pressure of the Strafexpedition blew up the bridge. The Austrians partially rebuilt it, but the final reconstruction had to wait until September 24, 1923, when the bridge, in reinforced concrete with three arches, was inaugurated by Benito Mussolini himself. Some aviators, the first being Arturo Ferrarin in 1915, passed under its arches with their plane.

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