The Tibetan Bridge of Sellano which connects the town to the hamlet of Montesanto is an extraordinary engineering work, which has no equal in Italy. With its height of 175 m, it holds the record as the highest Tibetan bridge in Europe* and has already begun to attract crowds of curious people who can't wait to cross it, despite the fact that it is scheduled to open to the public in 2024.
The design and construction of the work began in 2022, thanks to the initiative of the municipal administration. But the idea of a suspended connection between Sellano and Montesanto is not new.
In 1965, a daring local entrepreneur proposed for the first time to build an aerial connection between the two villages. The undertaking seemed too adventurous and no one was able to grasp its importance, so the idea remained as such.
A few years later, the same vision was taken up in a new guise by Luciano Giacchè, who describes it thus in one of his texts:
It was Prince Nicola Caracciolo of Castagneto who, together with his wife Rossella Sleiter, had decided to settle in those territories. In an initial phase, the couple thought of settling in Scheggino, where a very active Valnerina Cultural Center operated. But no home seemed to really convince them. Born in Florence on 19 May 1931, he belonged to the family of the princes of Castagneto: he was the third son of Filippo Caracciolo and Margaret Clarke. His brother was Carlo Caracciolo, founder of the publishing group "L'Espresso" and then of the newspaper "La Repubblica" with Eugenio Scalfari, and his sister Marella Caracciolo, wife of the lawyer Gianni Agnelli, president of Fiat, now FCA group.
In a long wandering of interesting lands and sites, the visit to Montesanto left no doubts; within a short time they decided to move to the end of the main street that leads to the Castle of the ancient village, where the Caracciolo family still owns a property.
Traveling along the kilometre-long road that goes from Montesanto down to the Vigi river valley and back up to Sellano, Nicola Caracciolo was amazed at how the two villages were apparently far away but, in reality, so close. A suspension bridge between the two would have been enough to quickly connect them.
And so, in 1987 in his capacity as councillor of the Mountain Community, Luciano Giacché commissioned the geologist Antonio Nini to carry out an inspection of Sellano and Montesanto to identify the suitable attachment points for the bridge. The machine had already started moving, but even in that case, unfortunately, the idea remained just an idea; that same year, Luciano Giacché abandoned all his public roles related to the Valnerina and, at the same time, the bridge project.
When, in 2022, the opportunity to resume that vision became achievable thanks to the PNRR and post-earthquake reconstruction funds, the Sellano administration decided that it was time to seize the opportunity and make it the fulcrum of a social and economic rebirth of the area.
The project was approved in record time and we immediately moved on to identifying designers and contractors for the construction, which started at the end of 2022. A year later, the Sellano Tibetan Bridge is almost completed and will become accessible to the public in 2024 .
* of the same height is the Tibetan bridge of Arouca in Portugal; therefore Sellano and Arouca hold a co-mate.