“Pont del diaol” is a zigzag path along a gorge, 19th-century lignite mines, ruins of ancient mills, and there you have the perfect recipe for an afternoon of history and adventure in the lesser-known Trentino. Let’s go and discover why they call it the Devil’s Bridge!
Where to find the Devil’s Bridge
We are a few kilometers from Rovereto on the northern side of the Monte Baldo group, on the side of Val Lagarina. As steep and rugged as the Benacense slope is, overlooking Lake Garda, the eastern side towards the Adige valley is gentle and more sloping, which we have chosen to explore.
The starting point is called “località Zembraé” and is located just before the village of Cornè (link to maps at the end of the post). You can park along the road and take the path gently lined with dry stone walls, flowering cherry trees, and some vines. Once you’ve walked the first stretch marked by human work, the descent becomes a daring and ancient path towards the heart of the ravine. A pavement of limestone covers the path like a carpet up to the “Pont del diaol”, our first stop. Despite the crystal-clear day, the gorge and the bridge evoke a strange magical aura. It’s easy to understand why folklore believes that the bridge was built by the devil himself. Here, the stream falls into a deep ravine of about thirty meters, and then disappears under a natural rock bridge called “Pont de prea zonta”. It’s a huge boulder that fell on the riverbed in ancient times. The bridge was built in stone with a round arch in the mid-1600s, it’s 13 meters long and 4 meters wide.
Ancient lignite mines in the magical atmosphere of the Sorna stream gorge
To reach the day’s destination, we go back a few meters to venture back into the gorge, on the opposite side towards the ancient lignite mines.
Hundred and eighty wooden steps quickly roll down to the bottom. The weak rays of sunshine filtering through the lush vegetation, the ancient cobblestones, and the wooden steps bring to mind Alice in Wonderland as she passes through the Tulgey Wood. The White Rabbit or the Cheshire Cat don’t suddenly appear, but the atmosphere of this forest is truly enchanted!
Once we reach the bottom, the rushing sound of the Sorna stream becomes the soundtrack for the rest of our excursion. The water collects in pools and large basins, creating the most beautiful colors, while the large boulders are smoothed by time and water. A steel footbridge, a steep iron ladder, and a few ropes secure the path leading to the entrance of some ancient lignite mines. As we are not equipped with torches and suitable footwear, we limit ourselves to taking a few steps in the dark to try to imagine the breath and hardships of the ancient miners. Further exploration of the caves will have to wait for another excursion!
Are you passionate about gorges and canyons? Trentino is the right place for you. Click here for our top 5: Canyons in Trentino, our favorites.