The Toro bridge
Just before arriving to the lower Belvedere of the Marmore Waterfall, along the Valnerina road, a sign indicates the PONTE del TORO (eng: “the bull bridge”). The name intrigues, encouraging to discover it. The Toro bridge is not just as any bridge, at least for its durability, having been built between the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD.
Almost “immersed” among the vegetation of a portion of the wood around the village of Papigno, the bridge (whose name resembles the name of the village Vocabolo Toro where it is located) does not overwhelm the Nera river, which flows on its left. The structure did not belong to a road axis (such as the Augustus bridge on the Flaminia route), but it was part of a water draining system from the Marmore highland, developed during the Roman era, a few centuries after hydraulic engineering works promoted by the Consul Curio Dentato, anyway connected to the waterfall. In fact, a drainage channel of the Velino river passed under the arch. The bridge, made up of limestone blocks without any cement work, was brought to light in 1819, after being cleaned from calcareous sedimentations of the Velino river. A recent restoration has given new life to this testimony of a past that still lives today. In addition to the presence of this “find”, the place on the edge of ancient woods fascinates for the beauty of the surrounding nature so much that it was one of plein air painters’ most favourites destinations. Today it has become a piece of the “MUSEO DIFFUSO dei PLENARISTI”, an itinerary that links the places in which European painters between the end of the 18th century and the following century, painted live (en plein air) the beauties of Terni’s landscape.