133 years ago the inauguration of the Revolving Bridge of Taranto

(To Marina Militare)
22/05/20

The 22rd anniversary of the inauguration of the Swivel Bridge of Taranto marks one of the symbolic monuments of the "city of the two seas" on 133 May.

In fact the Ponte San Francesco di Paola better known as Swing bridge in its first version it was inaugurated, with the name of Ponte Umberto Cataldo (in honor of the sovereign and the patron saint of the Ionian city) on May 22, 1887.

It was a great event that saw the participation of the king of Italy, Umberto I of Savoy who arrived in Taranto for this occasion.

Thanks to the revolving bridge and the Maritime Military Arsenal, financed with the "Arsenals law" in 1882, Taranto changed its face and from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy, with a significant population growth. It was a real economic, social and cultural revolution.

The bridge which was then operated by a hydraulic force given by falling water present in a cistern (some remains are still visible at the Torrione San Lorenzo del Castello Aragonese) was replaced in 1958 by the current bridge, a new one entirely in steel built by a Cantiere Navale locale, the Tosi shipyards already specialized in the construction of submarines (42 were launched for the Navy in the pre-war period). This too was a great event, celebrated with the presence of the then President of the Republic Giovanni Gronchi. On March 10, 2018, the 60th anniversary of the new Swivel Bridge was celebrated with the crossing of the navigable canal of the ship Doria. The bridge is entrusted to the joint management of the Municipality and the Navy.

For this management, the Armed Force has 53 technicians, including motorists, electricians and mechanics employed by the MARIGENIMIL premises, who ensure maintenance, controls and maneuvers for handling. Until 2003 the year in which the fleet was transferred from the Mar Piccolo to the Mar Grande in the New Naval Station, the openings of the bridge were frequent, usually at night, at 00.20 or in the early morning at 05.00 to allow access or access. exit in Mar Piccolo to the Units often in line formations in a row, sometimes very long.

Since then, the openings take place less frequently and when it is necessary to ensure the access of ships, direct or coming from the Arsenale for the works. On 6 and 19 May, the revolving bridge was opened to allow spectacular ship exits from the Mar Piccolo respectively Cavour e Garibaldi at the end of their stops, work in the Arsenale.

The Swivel Bridge with its history is a symbolic monument for the city, which has contributed significantly to its identity, for this reason the memory of its inauguration has an important meaning for the city and for the Navy.