In western Lessinia
, on the border of the municipality of Sant'Anna d'Alfaedo
(VR), we find the majestic Ponte di Veja
, a natural bridge consisting of an arch around forty metres long, with a minimum thickness of nine metres and a width of twenty. This splendid natural arch, the largest in Europe, is located between the natural wonders of Lake Garda
and is one of the most interesting geological sites in Lessinia
and in Italy as a whole. According to one hypothesis put forward by researchers, the bridge was formed by the evolution of an ancient karst cave (known in Italian as a 'covolo'
), which opened up in the hard limestone rock over many millions of years due to water erosion. A second hypothesis, however, attributes the formation of this vast arch to the earthquake of 1223. In any case, the bridge's origins are certainly ancient: artefacts dating back to the Palaeolithic period have been found under the fallen boulders and in two caves at its base. These are now preserved in nearby museums. This natural monument has always attracted artists due to its unusual structure. The most renowned was probably Andrea Mantegna, who depicted the bridge within one of the frescoes of the Camera degli Sposi
at the Ducal Palace in Mantua. But he wasn't the only one! Tradition has it that Dante Alighieri, during his exile in Verona as a guest of Cangrande della Scala, was also inspired by the bridge in his description of the Malebolge in the Divine Comedy. It is possible to visit the Ponte di Veja
thanks to walkways and staircases that take visitors right under the arch of this stone giant. A relaxing walk among the lush green vegetation, but also a very informative one: along the way, stone information boards provide more details about this enchanting place. As you head down from the main path, you reach an area that is considered the best panoramic spot for taking photos. From here, you can admire the Ponte di Veja in all its beauty and majesty. The bridge is also accessible from above, for a different perspective.