The Swing Bridge “San Francesco di Paola” / Navigable Canale ~ Taranto Capitale di Mare

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The Swing Bridge “San Francesco di Paola” / Navigable Canale

Ponte S. Francesco da Paola, 74121 Taranto TA



The entire territory of Taranto is characterized by a truly extraordinary archaeological stratification. Even the area now occupied by the “Navigable Canal” is no exception. The first excavation is dated back to 1481 (approximately) and was started to allow the passage of small boats as well as to improve the defence of the Castle. The first canal was certainly characterized by the particularly irregular walls, and could be crossed using a stone bridge with three arches called “Ponte di Porta Lecce”.

The construction of a real “Navigable Canal” dates back to the second half of the 1800s and allowed the settlement of the Italian Navy Dockyard in the city.

Later on, a metal bridge started to be constructed: its opening allowed the passage of large boats. The first single-span structure was designed and built by a Neapolitan company and was inaugurated in 1887 with the dedication to San Francesco di Paola. The opening and closing of the first swing bridge happened thanks to an ingenious hydraulic system based on the movement of turbines driven by the fall of the water, located in a large cistern inside a tower of the castle.

In 1957, the bridge needed to be replaced with a new structure, very similar to the previous one, but operated by an electric mechanism which was inaugurated by the President Giovanni Gronchi on 10 March 1958.

The Swing Bridge of Taranto, which is about eighty-nine meters long (292 feet), ten wide (33 feet) and twelve high (39 feet), is undoubtedly one of the most valuable engineering works that were built in Taranto between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and, over time, it has become one of the most iconic images of the “City of the Two Seas” also mentioned by Gabriele D’Annunzio in some verses of his Laudi (“Laudi del Cielo, del Mare della Terra e degli Eroi”, Book IV).

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Available services

Disabled access

Parking lot


Opening hours

Always visitable

The Swing Bridge “San Francesco di Paola” / Navigable Canale is part of the following itineraries

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Ponte S. Francesco da Paola, 74121 Taranto TA



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