The Ironworks Suspension Bridge
The Ironworks Suspension Bridge is a pedestrian walkway that connects the two sides of the river Lima, between Mammiano Basso and Popiglio in the municipality of San Marcello Piteglio. It is realized with structures which rest on four steel cables held tightly in tension. It measures 227 meters in length, 36 meters of maximum height over the riverbed and 80 cm in width.
In 1990 it was included in the Guinness Book of Records as “the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world”. Since 2006 the record is held by Kokonoe Yumet bridge in Japan.
Inaugurated in June 1923, it was built following the idea of Vincenzo Douglas Scotti, count of San Giorgio della Scala, director of the Mammiano Basso mill of the Società Metallurgica Italiana. It was created to facilitate the passage of the workers that from Popiglio had to move to the factories on the opposite side: without such a structure, indeed, the workers would have had to walk about 6 km to reach the workplace. To complete the work, Count Vincenzo Douglas Scotti commissioned the workshop foreman Filippo Ducceschi, who was responsible for the construction of the mechanical part, while the masonry and support works were entrusted to Cesare Vannucci, the construction manager.
Work began in 1920 with the help of about thirty workers, who secured the cables. At this point, it was possible to build a pedestrian walkway, consisting of tables and wire mesh hinged on the supporting structure, which connected the two opposite banks of the river Lima without any intermediate support.
The work, which has lost its original function of improving the road conditions in the valley, has undergone important maintenance and consolidation works over the years. In 2004, the upgrades made it possible to secure the bridge, making it more stable and resistant through the complete replacement of the cables, the lateral tie rods, the walkway, and the protections using a stronger and lighter material.
In January 2014, the night lighting of the bridge was inaugurated. In 2017, other extraordinary maintenance and reinforcement works of the tie rods were carried out.
Access to the bridge can be made from the hamlet Mammiano or from the “Strada SS. del Brennero” near the hamlet Popiglio, through a recently built wooden pedestrian walkway.