Guard chapel in Langa stone on the Romanesque bridge built by Benedictine monks.
The bridge is one of the most important civil engineering works of the Valle Bormida.
Through the characteristic alley called the Droc - where once there was one of the city gates and where you still see access to an ancient oven you can quickly reach the Roman bridge over the Bormida, which is one of the most interesting works of engineering medieval civilization of the valley and finds its counterpart, in that of Spigno, in the similar bridge of the abbey of San Quentin. Both were built by Benedictine monks:
These are powerful donkey structures, surmounted by chapels that were ancient watchtowers thanks to which the religious ensured complete commercial control of the land extended between the Langhe and the sea.
The one in Monastero, in particular, was the only bridge that can be walked all year round starting from the lower valley: Acqui was unavailable and Vesime had the ruins of an ancient Roman bridge, never rebuilt in a stable way after it had been destroyed by a full. At Convent two very important ways converged: the one that led from Acqui to the sea and the military one that climbed to Roccaverano and, from the ridge, allowed the control of the two Bormida valleys, with the towers of Vengore, Roccaverano, San Giorgio, Olmo Gentile, Serole, Torre Uzzone, Santa Giulia and Carretto. So either the fords or the bridge of the monastery were used, at whose top it was necessary to pay a tax to the guard to be able to transit (even today the saying 'I do not even have a penny to pass Bormida').
The old monument, after eight hundred years, still resists, with the four large perfectly squared stone arches and the triangular blocks at the pillars, specifically designed to 'cut' the water and avoid unnecessary barriers in the event of floods. Augusto Monti recalls the great floods of the nineteenth century, which swept away the parapets, but did not affect the structure (“every other bridge upstream and downstream Bormida coars them as fosser sheet piling, but this is always there, intact over the centuries, by of that cement, because the friars put out the lime with the egg white, and the reds made a zambion”), while during the Second World War the small chapel placed on the top was used for military purposes, as an anti-aircraft station.
The disastrous flood of 1994 seriously threatened the stillness of the building: the water and the wood massed by the current destroyed the parapets and the historic small chapel, unhinged the asphalt, reduced the bridge to the exile figure of the arches. But the worst has not happened and that of Monastero, even if in need of important restorations, is one of the few bridges that have been made accessible to traffic after a few days of closure.