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The great bridges of Rome: the Tiber and distant eras

A symbol of ingenuity and history between great events and everyday life

The great bridges of Rome are a fundamental chapter of the imposing cultural, historical and urban heritage of the Eternal City. We can organize a guided walking tour with authorized guides, and also insert this activity in a wider program of deepening of Rome.

These monumental works of engineering have always assisted the flow of history by uniting different neighborhoods and eras. Among the most symbolic of Rome, Ponte Milvio (206 B.C.)  (maps) is a monument steeped in romance and history. In 312 A.D., Emperor Constantine defeated Maxentius in a decisive battle, marking his triumph and the end of Christian persecution.

Today it is famous for the “Padlock of Love” pinned by couples who swear eternal love.

From the Tiber Island, the charm of the great bridges of Rome

The magical Tiber Island is a unique place with two fascinating bridges that connect it to both sides of the Tiber. They are the Ponte Cestio (46 B.C.) (maps) built under Julius Caesar. And the Ponte Fabricio (62 B.C.)  (maps) called Ponte Quattro Capi (that means four heads).

Legend has it that the four architects involved in the construction quarreled with each other and Pope Sixtus V (1521-1590) had them beheaded all. Immediately after the Pons Emilio (179 B.C. rebuilt in 189 A.D.) (maps) better known to the Romans as Ponte Rotto (that means “broken bridge”). That connected the Jewish Ghetto to Trastevere. Its name derives from the damage caused by the numerous floods, for which the bridge is the symbol of a city that always rises.

Rome and Vatican also connected through the Tiber

To unite Rome and the Vatican Ponte Sant’Angelo, (formerly Pons Aelius 134 A.D. “Pons” is the Latin word for “bridge”) (maps) , an integral part of the mausoleum of Augustus. That later became the bridge between Rome and the Vatican.

Crossing it means immersing oneself in the magnificence of art and faith. Going down towards the city center we find Ponte Sisto (maps), built by Baccio Pontelli (1473) with material of the Colosseum. A meeting place of the great of the Renaissance.

No less famous is the Ponte Sublicio (1917) (maps), built by the architect Marcello Piacentini, which connects Trastevere to Testaccio, characteristic districts of the city.

Name and place recall the ancient wooden bridge of the same name imbued with myth and legend. His fame was linked to the legend of Horace Coclite, who defended Rome on the bridge against his enemies by sacrificing himself.

There is also another historic bridge over the Capital’s other river

The Tiber has a very important tributary in the river Aniene that flows into its waters coming from the West. At the point where it meets the Via Nomentana there is the Ponte Nomentano (187 A.D.) (maps) already the gateway to the picturesque Roman countryside.

Commissioned by Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the bridge has witnessed many historical events also as an important point of passage to the North. It often changed ownership among the noble families of Rome and in the 1500s it also served as a customs of the city.

The symbolism of the bridge, with the necessary great skills and expertise in building it, are translated from Ancient Rome into the Christian religion. In this way “Pontifex Maximus” the Pope’s name as “Pontiff”.

In this article we have not dealt with the most modern bridges, from ‘800 to today, built especially after the Unification of Italy. They will be the subject of a next article for which we invite you to follow our blog.

With the Blog of Rome and Latium Region, Around Rome guides you to discover the territories for the pleasure of satisfying curiosity and putting culture at the service of people and businesses.

Edited by il NETWORK | text Andrea Franchiniphoto  Ezio Bocci

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