Ancient bridges of Sicily: punctual signs of a past that disappears

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Abstract

The traces left by man on the territory are indelible, testimonies that the time preserves and history deliver us, and which together constitute a thick texture that overlaps the physical layout of the environment, integrating and modifying it.Great works, monuments universally recognized as masterpieces of the mind and of human hands, but also lesser works, artifacts of common use, isolated manufactured which constitute the elements of a wider and complex organization of settlement phenomena; tiles of a mosaic rich in nuances and reflections, the result of a long process of historical stratification.Towers, castles, churches, sanctuaries, villas, belong to the category of isolated works but also houses, farms, and not least the bridges, built to ensure the continuity of the existing routes.The changes that took place in Sicilian territory over the centuries, in particular the disappearance of numerous “trazzere”, embedded in their neighboring private properties, have led to the isolation of many of these bridges that are now dispersed among the countryside, in decentralized positions to the current viability and therefore deprived of their original function.The perpetuation of disuse has meant that many of these artifacts disappear, or abandoned as ruins; some just left architectural tracing, other memories only. Others still maintain intact the structure and the masonry. Many are modified from their original visus owing to the time wear and the structural metamorphosis, accomplished over the years. Still others despite having lost the original purpose, constitute structuring urban spaces architectural elements, becoming connotative elements for a square. No one today is able to tell how many of these bridges have survived the time and disinterestedness of men or their "restorations" because there is no complete census yet.From these considerations comes the study, conducted at the Department of architecture of the Polytechnic School of the University of Palermo. It is a journey through the time that drove us to rediscover a part of Sicily's history.The research focused on the study of those bridges which, due to their historical and morphological characteristics and the constructive materials and techniques they represent, are a historical testimony of our past. The analysis conducted, supported by photographic and architectural reliefs and by information obtained in archives, libraries and sometimes by the inhabitants of areas visited, also allowed to study the technological evolution linked to these structures, both in the use of materials, both in construction techniques and formal expression. The work of census has resulted, inter alia, in a filing with the purpose of providing information about localization, fonts, type, structural analysis, the state of conservation of listed artifact and raise attention of public administrations on these isolated artifacts that can be defined monuments as documents of the history and culture of a country and of a civilization.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHeritage 2018 6th International Conference on Heritage and Sustainable Development. 10th Anniversary Edition. Book of abstracts
Pages86-86
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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    Firrone, T. R. L., & Bustinto, C. (2018). Ancient bridges of Sicily: punctual signs of a past that disappears. In Heritage 2018 6th International Conference on Heritage and Sustainable Development. 10th Anniversary Edition. Book of abstracts (pp. 86-86)