Admiral’s Bridge –one of the oldest existing bridges in Europe once upon the time provided access to Palermo over the river Oreto, now it links the city with its historical past....
Ponte dell’Ammiraglio (Admiral’s Bridge) is one of the oldest surviving bridges in Europe.
It was built over the river Oreto at the beginning of the 12th century at the order of one of the greatest commanders of those times - Admiral George of Antioch (Giorgio d’Antiochia).
His military skills and records as well as political talents gained him not only prestige and respect of adversaries, but also the title of Emir of Emirs. Major part of his career he worked for the Norman King of Sicily – Roger II. The bridge is not his only legacy in Palermo – he also founded the church of Santa Maria of Martorana (for that raison also called Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio).
Ponte dell'Ammiraglio - today
Now, we can only try to picture the River Oreto in 12th century when the bridge was built...
At its time, the bridge provided an easy access to the city from the eastern side of the island. During the last century, the bridge lost its original purpose because Oreto’s riverbed was diverted some 300 feet (100 meters) away. Now out of the water, restored, sitting in the middle of the park it beautifully exposes its smooth, long, seven-arched silhouette – the testimony to the engineering skills of Norman engineers.
Unfortunately, due to its location outside of the main touristic area of the Old Palermo, the bridge is rarely visited by tourists. Those lucky visiting the city on the fourth week of May can take part in an open-air spectacle commemorating the 1860 battle fought by Garibaldi’s troops with the forces of the last Bourbon king of Sicily – Francesco 2nd. In fact, Garibaldi’s “Redshirts” stormed the bridge dell’Ammiraglio to enter the city so the bridge is the natural stage for celebrations taking place each year on May 27th – the anniversary of the attack.
You can still walk (I guess) across the bridge
Now the river Oreto is probably a shadow of itself....
Now, you may think that this famous bridge standing in the middle of meadow leads from nowhere to nowhere but you couldn't be more wrong. In reality, the Admiral's bridge is the shortest connection between the modern, bustling capital of Sicily - Palermo, and its remote past....
Go back to: --> Top Sites to see in Palermo
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