The A2 Motorway (formerly A3) is the main road connecting Calabria to the rest of the Italian peninsula. It passes through rough terrain, among mountains and valleys, that always made it difficult to connect the region to other parts of the country.
One of the main works that form part of the motorway is the Italia Viaduct (Viadotto Italia) that crosses the Lao River Gorge in Northern Calabria, between the towns of Laino Borgo and Laino Castello. The bridge was constructed between 1966 and 1969, it rests on 19 concrete pylons and it has an overall length of 0.72 miles (1.16 kilometers).
At the time of construction, it was the highest bridge (in terms of the distance between the deck and the ground below) in Europe. It was also the second-highest in the world with a height of 850 feet (260 meters) over the gorge of the Lao River below.
The bridge was the highest in Europe for more than 30 years until 2004, when the Millau Viaduct in France was opened. The Italia Viaduct underwent several restorations over the course of its life, especially during the 2010s. It is still the highest bridge in Italy, the second-highest in Europe, and among the 40 highest bridges in the world.