ALONG THE VIA IULIA AUGUSTA
Val Ponci. Stunning natural landscape
Finale boasts an impressive route that can be explored on foot or by bike. The trail passes through Val Ponci, where visitors can behold the remains of five magnificent Roman bridges.
La Val Ponci
The Val Ponci takes its name from the ancient denomination “vallis pontium”, meaning the “valley of bridges”.
You can explore a suspended valley with a naturalistic and rural landscape. Along the route of the ancient Via Iulia Augusta, which was opened by the Roman emperor Augustus in 13 B.C., you can walk for about two kilometres. It connected the municipality of Vada Sabatia/Vado Ligure with southern Gaul by crossing the small Ponci stream with a set of bridges possibly built by Emperor Hadrian in AD 125.
The route starts by Verzi village, near the towering Finale Stone walls of Rocca di Corno. The watercourse at the start of the valley has formed remarkable geological structures called “potholes of the giants” (“marmite dei giganti”) along with miniature waterfalls.
The first bridge on the route up the valley is the Ponte delle Fate, which is well-preserved and still passable. Its name comes from the dialect word “faje” which means sheep.
We admire the beautiful archway of the bridge, made of carefully squared blocks of Finale Stone (“Pietra di Finale”), before entering the valley. We then reach the remains of the Ponte Sordo, cross the Ponte delle Voze and the Ponte dell’Acqua, also single-arched. Finally, we reach what remains of the Ponte di Magnone (Magnone Bridge), immersed in the woods at the upper end of the valley, near the Colla di San Giacomo.
THE ROMAN QUARRIES OF VAL PONCI
On the eastern side of the valley, between the Ponte delle Voze and Ponte dell’Acqua, a short path leads to fascinating and impressive quarries of Finale Stone (“Pietra di Finale”) known as the “Roman quarries” of the Val Ponci, possibly already used for the construction of the ancient road.
HOW TO REACH THE SITE
The Val Ponci can be explored on foot or by riding a mountain bike. It can be reached by car from either the road to Verzi, which branches off from the valley road from Calvisio to Vezzi Portio, or from the locality of San Giacomo, Magnone.
Guided tours along the Roman bridges are part of the Archeotrekking programs, organized by the Archaeological Museum of Finale.
For more information about Roman bridges and quarries in the Val Ponci see
Museo Archeologico del Finale (Archaeological Museum of Finale)
Chiostri di Santa Caterina
Guided tours along the Roman bridges are part of the Archeotrekking programs, organized by the Archaeological Museum of Finale: www.museoarcheofinale.it