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Ponte di Veja, Italy - largest natural bridge in Europe

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  • Ponte di Veja, Italy - largest natural bridge in Europe

    Hi folks - yet another Italian adventure to share with my forum friends accompanied by my usual, totally optional, pre-visual dribbling intro....

    I've spent a good part of the past 5 months roaming around northern Italy at the weekends snapping away with my camera like a demented tourist. A lot of my photos have included shots of bridges, old and new, in villages, towns and cities, and these structures have had one thing in common. They were all man-made. This past weekend, however, I took a trip to yet another bridge but this time a natural one, in fact the largest natural bridge in Europe, Ponte di Veja (or Veia), situated in the National Park of Lessinia, 20 miles north west of the city of Verona and just 20 mins, drive from my temporary home.

    Ponte di Veja is a rock formation, thought to have formed millions of years ago as the result of a karstic cavern* collapse at the head of a limestone valley. The bridge comprises of an immense slab of marble resting on two limestone pillars. Its height varies from 80 - 95 ft, from its base which is around 200 ft above the base of the valley. The arch thickness varies from 27 - 35 ft, the length from one pillar base to the other from 120 - 150 ft, and the width of the bridge slab from 50 - 65 feet. Yep, it's big!

    A small stream trickles under the bridge arch and drops vertically as a cascade to the floor of the valley below which stems from the bridge running north. A number of caves, all closed to the public, strike off from the pillars and surrounding rock formations, some of which have been found to contain prehistoric artifacts such as cave drawings and flint tools. The caves are also home to large colonies of bats as well as some unique animal and fauna species which are only found in this cave system. In the past the bridge was used by farmers but these days it is closed to vehicular transport and forms a walkway from a nearby parking area to a walking trail running about 3 miles northwards up the valley.

    My photos don't do justice to the size of this natural formation and as I took them early on a wintery morning the sun was too low in the sky to penetrate most of the valley so a little post processing was necessary to improve the colours but hopefully my shots will give a reasonable impression of this majestic natural formation.



    Ref the black and white image - just me playing
    See my colour photos of Ponte di Veja by clicking on this
    Web Gallery Link

    Navigating my web galleries.
    After choosing a gallery click on any thumbnail to view a larger image.Do not use the default slide show option, instead click again on the larger image and then navigate the slide show by moving your mouse to either the centre left or right edge of the new image at which point a blue navigation arrow will appear.

    Footnote for non-geologists *A karstic cavern is thought to be formed by water enriched in carbon dioxide acting as a weak acid which, after penetrating cracks in normally impervious limestone caused by teutonic plate movement, gradually dissolves away the underlying rock through which it seeps or flows.
    Last edited by jim_mex; 01-15-2012, 11:51 PM.
    Jim in Mexico

    Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
    - Albert Einstein

  • #2
    PS - I did wonder whether to title this thread 'A bridge too far' but maybe I was a little 'stoned' or 'hung over' with too much Valpollicella red wine when I was writing the thread!

    Saluti!
    Jim in Mexico

    Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
    - Albert Einstein

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    • #3
      Jim thanks for sharing. We have a natural bridge in WI. However it is small compared to this one.
      Last edited by Tango; 01-15-2012, 05:18 PM.
      Website:
      www.wix.com/tangowooddesign/home-page
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      • #4
        Thanks for sharing, I like that picture

        Bob
        Delta P-20 & Q-3

        I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me!

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        • #5
          nice picture jim,too much free time on your hands mate...lol
          not doing much
          and busy doing it


          having fun making sawdust.


          http://www.customcutz4you.webs.com/

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          • #6
            nice picture jim,too much free time on your hands mate...lol
            Hey Tony
            Jim in Mexico

            Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
            - Albert Einstein

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            • #7
              enough said jim,...lol
              and i cant realy talk,as you know well yourself,
              weather is brassic here at the mo ,still what can we expect,still january......
              now get back too work
              not doing much
              and busy doing it


              having fun making sawdust.


              http://www.customcutz4you.webs.com/

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              • #8
                Jim, your footnote is spot on about how caverns form in limestone regions. Karst topography is common in many part of the world and is named for the Karst Region of Yugoslavia where it was first extensively studied. In the U.S., the most famous Karst region is in Kentucky and includes Mammoth Cave, but it is also found in Tenn, Fla, Va ( home of Natural Bridge) , W.Va, and NY among other places.

                As for natural bridges, they generally form when the roof over an underground stream in a cave system becomes too thin to support itself and most of it collapses or when an earthquake causes it to collapse leaving only a bridge between the two sides of what is now a visible stream valley.

                george
                A day without sawdust is a day without sunshine.
                George

                delta 650, hawk G426

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                • #9
                  Man made is man made, but the real beauty is Mother Nature.........sweeeeet.
                  Thanks for sharing once again Jim.
                  Gloria ............... Two memorable things to say in life, "Hello" for the first time, and "Good-bye" for the last.

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                  • #10
                    Jim, great snaps. I think with all your photo talent you missed your calling . Just a little stroke on this bleak Monday morning.
                    Have a great week.
                    Roger

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                    • #11
                      Nice picture and history lesson - enjoyed ..........
                      Usually busier than a cat in a sandbox !!!!!!!!!!! MB { Dewalt 788 only }

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                      • #12
                        Very interesting trip. thanks for sharing

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                        • #13
                          As I was looking at your photos I was reminded of a cave man, dinosaur move I saw as a kid.
                          Nice photography and story as usual.
                          Thanks.
                          Pacifism is great, as long as everyone is participating.



                          StephenD


                          The Southern Arizona Woodturners Association
                          Desert Woodcrafters
                          Grandpa for the 7 most amazing children.

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