The Buriano Bridge

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ponte Buriano

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The Buriano Bridge is located north of Arezzo, along the road to Castiglion Fibocchi. It is Romanesque in style, built during the second half of the thirteenth century and, miraculously, it remained standing during the Second World War, when significant damage occurred in this part of Tuscany. Villas have since sprung up across the region and it has grown into a popular holiday destination. The Buriano Bridge’s seven arches sprawl across the River Arno, the most significant waterway in the region. Those who view it are often struck by the familiarity of the place, yet unable to understand why. The reason is simple: according to some, the "Buriano Bridge" is one of the most famous and recognizable bridges in the world.

This is thanks to Leonardo Da Vinci who incorporated it in the background of his most celebrated painting, the Mona Lisa. Looking at the famous portrait you can see a bridge on the right, just above the shoulder of the Mona Lisa. The similarity with the "Buriano Bridge" is remarkable even if there is no documentary evidence linking the bridge to the great Tuscan virtuoso. However, there is a lot of evidence supporting this claim. We know, for example, that Da Vinci was familiar with this area, having studied it for many years. In addition, other morphological elements visible in the background of the painting seem to accurately represent certain areas of land related to this part of Tuscany. Villas have since sprung up in the area, but it still seems like a plausible theory. Doubts still remain, but the hypothesis that the Buriano Bridge is part of one of the most famous paintings in the entire history of art is really quite incredible.

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