Pietro Salini

Dreaming the future


This book is an opportunity to pay tribute to one of the most spectacular inventions of human ingeniousness: the bridge.

The bridge is the most natural response to the needs for the union and connection of a community. The Roman emperors imagined it when they had to overcome an obstacle that separated them from an enemy to be defeated, or when they needed quick and safe connections to govern the provinces of their huge empire. The Etruscans had already built bridges, discovering the advantages of the arch bridge. After that the art of building bridges became sacred as the corporation of bridge builders glimpsed in their architecture a divine expression. Bridge builders were revered as being filled with wisdom and linked to the divine.

Moreover, deriving from the name of those who built bridges, the pontifex was the highest possible religious office of the Ancient Romans, which in turn spawned the name pontefice in Italian or pontiff in English in Christianity today.
In Rome the first version of the Milvio Bridge that was made of boats was built in 312 AD by the Emperor Maxentius so that he could reach his rival, Constantine, awaiting him on the opposite shore of the Tiber.
For Constantine, who that very night had dreamed of the Cross of Jesus Christ and the words that would go down in history (in hoc signo vinces, or “in this sign you shalt conquer”), the bridge that his rival had built would become the means for his victory. Since then, bridges have embodied the frontier of technology and engineering, defying the laws of physics, without ever betraying them, however.
Gravity, first of all, conquered by the great suspension bridges that seem to float over the void for mile after mile and have become the catalysts of progress everywhere.

What would the city of New York be like without the bridges connecting it to New Jersey and to Brooklyn, or Istanbul without the suspended decks that dominate the Bosphorus and join Europe with Asia? Building bridges has always been a challenge against the forces of nature, a challenge faced with determination because bridges connect, bring closer, foster encounters between cultures, societies, and economies.

Every bridge that Webuild has built in the world represents the impossible dream made possible.
In Argentina we built a bridge connecting four states.
The new San Giorgio Bridge in Genoa, besides serving the city, offers a fast route between Italy and France.
In California, the Long Beach International Gateway is the means by which one-third of all the goods arrive in the United States by sea transit.
In Istanbul, the second and third Bosphorus Bridges we built allow hundreds of thousands of vehicles to cross from one side to another of the Bosphorus.
In Calabria, after the two Sfalassà and Favazzina Viaducts were completed (249 and 150 meters above the valley, respectively) along the Salerno-Reggio Calabria artery, all the ridges of the Aspromonte were repaired and consolidated, thus restoring the mountains to their original state.

These great works, built by Webuild in over a century of history, speak volumes about the excellence of Italian engineering, a characteristic inherited from the Ancient Romans.
Their legacy lies in constantly seeking new means to overcome the obstacles that separate cities from countries, while always aspiring to discover innovative techniques to build beautiful and functional bridges, sustainable and innovative ones in order to defy the forces of nature.

Today our frontier is to create works that are sustainable and cutting-edge in terms of their engineering: bridges capable of withstanding gale-force winds and tremendous earthquakes. We did this in Romania when we built the Bridge over the
Danube in Bra˘ila, which was recently opened, and is the second longest suspension bridge in Continental Europe. And we plan to do the same over the Strait of Messina, which will make it the longest suspension bridge in the world.
All these bridges, like all the other works that the Webuild Group has built during its history, denote the passion, devotion, and excellence that this involves, three virtues that belong to humans and that only humans can hand down to
posterity. Bequeathing to our children a more modern, sustainable, developed world has always been our foremost ambition.


Pietro Salini
Administratore Delegato del Gruppo Webuild