Puente de la Culebra, Snake Bridge, Madrid
The Puente de la Culebra (Snake Bridge) is a uniquely styled 18th century pedestrian footbridge that was constructed by the ruling nobility of Madrid to limit and control the access by common folk to the royal hunting reserve of the Casa de Campo.
The bridge spans the small Meaques stream (Arroyo de Meaques) a tributary of the River Manzanares. The bridge’s name is derived from the shallow twisting path of the bridge which is said to resemble that of a slivering snake.
The snake bridge is located in the Zarzón section of the Casa de Campo which lies to the south western edge of the park. The closest metro station is Colonia Jardín on line 10 and the bridge is found at the beginning of Prado Rodajos road. The bridge was commissioned by King Carlos III in 1782 and was originally named the Puente Estrecho (The Narrow Bridge) but the unique baroque styling inspired Madrid’s residences to rename it the Snake Bridge (Puente de la Culebra). The architect who was commissioned with the bridges design was Francesco Sabatini. He was commanded to design a bridge that could control the access to the royal hunting grounds and would prevent carts or wagons to cross.
The Puente de la Culebra was constructed in a baroque style with strong Italian influences. The bridge is formed of two clear sections; red brick arches and granite walkways and walls. This was one of five bridges that were constructed but only two remain. The small steam was dammed to form a small lake which is home to ducks and other wild life. The Puente de la Culebra and the Zarzón is a great area to unwind and escape from the frantic fast pace of the capital.