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  • Ponte alla Luna

    By Anthony Parente

    © Ponte Tibetano Sassi di Castalda
    If you are a thrill seeker looking for a little adventure you may want to visit the town of Sasso di Castalda. This charming old town in the province of Potenza within the Basilicata region has a set of Tibetan bridges that is sure to get the adrenaline pumping.

    The bridges are located on the banks of the "Fosso Arenazzo" which begins at the foot of the old town. As you travel through the narrow streets you will arrive at the first bridge called the Ponte Petracca. This bridge spans 95 meters (311 feet) and is suspended about 70 meters (230 feet) from the ground. As you follow the path along the bank of the Fosso you will pass the votive chapel devoted to the Madonna delle Grazie and you will arrive at the Ponte alla Luna in 10 - 15 minutes.

    The Ponte alla Luna is one of the longest Tibetan bridges in Italy. It is a single span bridge that is 300 meters (984 feet) in length and 102 meters (335 feet) high over the stream below. It takes approximately 30 minutes to get to the other side. It is not for the faint of heart. The gaps in the steel steps are a reminder of how high above the ground you are. If you make the journey you will be rewarded with stunning views of the area. The bridge ends at the ruins of the old castle where there is an observation deck with a glass floor overlooking the bridge giving you a spectacular panoramic view of the entire landscape. You can return to the historic center by following the stone stairways.

    The Ponte alla Luna (Bridge to the Moon) got its name from Rocco Petrone who was the son of emigrants from the area. Rocco was director of launch operations at NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center from 1966 - 1969 and director of the Apollo program in 1969 that was responsible for landing the first people on the Moon.

    It is highly suggested that you wear appropriate clothing and footwear suitable for sporting activities. Both bridges must be crossed with the appropriate safety equipment (harness, helmet and carabiner lanyard) which can be purchased at the ticket office. For additional information including the cost, hours and how to get to Sasso di Castalda visit pontetibetanosassodicastalda.com.

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