If you’re visiting Valtellina, in the Italian Alps, you can’t miss Ponte nel Cielo (“Bridge in the Sky”), a 140 meters high Tibetan bridge! You’ll find it in Campo Tartano, a small mountain village sitting about 1000 meter above sea level. It’s a simple suspension bridge more than 200 meters long, built in 2018 in the tight Tartano Valley. When built, it gained the record of sea-level highest Tibetan bridge in Europe!
The bridge: project and design
Ponte nel Cielo connects Campo Tartano with the pastures of Frasnino, on the two opposite sides of the Tartano valley. It’s 234 meters long, one meter wide and 140 meters above the Tartano river. Both bridge accesses are about 1030-1040 meters from sea level. Therefore the record of the European highest Tibetan bridge.
700 larch wood planks make up the central block of the bridge, which is held up by metal cables. The structure guarantees to hold up to 100 persons at the same time.
Ponte nel Cielo has been built by the Austrian company HTB, from a 2016 project. It’s currently managed by Consorzio Püstarèsc, which also organized a peculiar fundraising. Back in the building days, they were accepting donations for each and every one of the bridge wooden planks: with 100 euros you could have had your name on the entrance plate and three years of free access!
I strongly advise against visiting the bridge for those who don’t enjoy high altitudes and vertical drops. For everybody else, Ponte nel Cielo is a fun day entertainment, especially if combined with hiking in the surrounding mountains.
It takes only a few minutes to cross, but you can’t avoid stopping to take some stunning pictures to the bridge itself and to the valley below. The view is really impressive! You can see the entire Tartano Valley going down to Valtellina. To the East, looking towards the higher mountains, there’s the Colombera Dam. The village Campo, lit up by the morning sun, is really pretty. On the opposite side of the valley, there are woods and plenty of hikes to try out. The official website of the bridge suggests a wide net of paths in the area, all of them connected to one or the other end of Ponte nel Cielo.
As much as the thick metal cables look firm and strong enough, stopping in the middle of the bridge feels weird and unstable, especially when someone else walks on it, even if far away from you. The bridge swings, jumps, moves under the feet! The most stress came for me from the fear of dropping something and losing it forever!
Spoiler for Geocaching fan: up to January 2022, in the middle of the bridge there was a tiny treasure!
Since the access to the bridge is limited to 100 people at a time, during holidays, weekends and in the summer season you’ll have to book your ticket online. The cost for an adult is 5 euro and let you walk twice across the bridge during the opening hours.
How to get to the bridge Ponte nel Cielo in Valtellina
I suggest reaching the bridge Ponte nel Cielo in a private car. At Ardenno, you need to get off the main road that crosses the entire Valtellina, connecting Como Lake with Sondrio. Here you cross Adda river and start driving up the 12 hairpin bends that, for unknowing reasons, are all well numbered!
You can spot the bridge already from the road before the small village Campo, where you can easily park and then walk to the ticket office. There are not many signs neither on the way nor in Campo. But you can’t go wrong, the bridge is there floating in the air, visible between the houses!