According to La Stampa, hundreds of residents and holidaymakers were present for the bridge's opening ceremony in the town of Tartano in the northern province of Sondrio, which forms part of Italy's border with Switzerland.
The 234 metre-long bridge is suspended 140 metres above the valley floor, making it both the highest and the longest bridge of its kind in Europe.
It connects the hilltop towns of Campo Tartano and Frasnino and provides panoramic views over the Valtellina valley, situated at the foot of the Rhaetian Alps in Lombardy.
Excitement about the bridge has been spreading throughout Italy since a Facebook video of his walk over the structure posted by Luigi Tripiciano went viral on social media.
The 700 wooden panels which form the base of the Tibetan-style bridge's walkway were made using locally-sourced larch wood, reports GreenMe
. The structure is held together by four large steel cables.
The bridge is open for public use between 9.30am and 4.30pm daily and until sunset on Saturdays, and is free for children under the age of 14 and costs adults €5 per day for an unlimited number of uses, according to the official website
of the Valtellina valley.
The project, born in 2016, was intended not merely to meet a practical need but also give the area a much-needed tourism boost.
To that end, it also includes a new birdwatching site and small bivouac shelter for hikers and birdwatchers at the Frasnino end of the bridge, donated by a member of the Püstarèsc Consortium, the project's main sponsor and promoter.
“The goal was to focus attention with this attraction on our beautiful valley that, unfortunately, is not immune to the phenomenon of depopulation that our mountain areas are experiencing,” said
Püstarèsc Consortium president Renato Bertolini.
“I would say we are succeeding,” he added.