May 22 marks the 133rd anniversary of the inauguration of the Ponte Girevole in Taranto, one of the symbolic monuments of the “city of the two seas”.
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 22 May 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 that 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 of the Aragonese Castle) was replaced in 1958 by the current bridge, a new one entirely in steel built by a Local shipyard, 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 10 March 2018, the 60th anniversary of the new Ponte Girevole was celebrated with the crossing of the navigable canal of the Doria ship. 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 Ponte Girevole with its history is a symbolic monument for the city, which has significantly contributed to its identity, which is why the memory of its inauguration has an important meaning for the city and for the Navy.