The Saracen Bridge is dated from the 9th century and links the territory of Adrano with that of Centuripe. It stands on the banks of the Simeto river, the largest in Sicily, flowing along this stretch in a channel enclosed in basalt walls; the result of ancient lava flows from Etna, creating suggestive and sinuous shapes.
Although it is called Saracen Bridge, it is actually a Norman structure, which originally was part of an important road that connected Catania with the city of Troina, which was the first capital of Ruggero I of Altavilla’s kingdom.
What remains of the ancient structure today is only the largest, central arcade with a pointed arch. The other arches include a smaller pointed arch and another round arch. They are probably of Roman origin and were destroyed during the flood of 1948, then later rebuilt, albeit different from the originals.
There is a beautiful legend that gives the place additional charm; it is the story of a young shepherd who jumped from one bank of the river to the other, in order to his sweetheart as quickly as possible. This legend inspired the name of the nearby area “Shepherd’s Leap”. Legends aside, the place still retains a pristine and enchanted atmosphere. In the spring it is enhanced by the scent of orange blossoms and the crisp, clear contours and snow-covered peak of Etna, which has witnessed each passage over the bridge throughout the centuries.
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