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The modern bridges of Rome: from the unification of Italy to today

Since the second half of the nineteenth century, the new role of the Eternal City

The modern bridges of Rome were builted after that the city assumied the role of the capital in 1871. This activity is a consequence of its increasing gentrification. New traffic needs and urban development drive the construction of bridges in both the city center and the outskirts. This trend continues to this day, incorporating new engineering concepts, techniques, and innovative materials.

Starting from the north, we find the Flaminio Bridge (maps), crossed by the Corso Francia Overpass, connecting with Cassia and Flaminia. Designed by architect Armando Brasini in the early 1930s, it was inaugurated only in 1951. Originally meant to be named Bridge XXVIII October to commemorate the March on Rome, wartime events delayed its completion.

Inaugurated in 1939, the Duke of Aosta Bridge (maps) overlooks Rome’s sports heart, the Foro Italico, and the Olympic Stadium. Constructed with reinforced concrete and travertine marble from Tivoli, its four corners feature pillars with reliefs depicting battles of World War I.

Not far away is the Music Bridge – Armando Trovajoli (maps), inaugurated in 2011. A pedestrian and cycle bridge, it was envisioned in the 1929 master plan. The contemporary design combines steel, concrete, reinforced concrete, and wood in a 190-meter arch framed by two scenic lowered arches.

Walking towards the center, we trace back through history

The Umberto I Bridge (maps), built between 1885 and 1895, exemplifies 19th-century engineering. Designed by Angelo Vescovali, it was dedicated to King Umberto I, who inaugurated it with Queen Margherita of Savoy. Interestingly, the traffic direction on the bridge is opposite to the norm in Italy.

Set against the backdrop of St. Peter’s Dome, the Vittorio Emanuele II Bridge (maps) is among the most photographed by Rome enthusiasts. Also known as Ponte Vittorio for locals, it was constructed between 1886 and 1911, adorned with bronze sculptures reflecting themes of war and patriotism. When the river level is low, remnants of the ancient Neronian or Triumphal Bridge (1st century AD) can be glimpsed.

Post-Italian unification building development increases the need to connect the two banks of the Tiber

Mazzini Bridge (constructed between 1904 and 1908 – maps) was initially named Gianicolense Bridge, after an ancient bridge that once stood there. Older Romans associate it with the road leading to the old Regina Coeli prisons. Sometimes modern bridges of Rome were builted remembering the old ones.

Staying within the same construction period, Garibaldi Bridge (maps), a tribute to the architect of Italian unification, also designed by architect Vescovali, was completed in 1888. It became Rome’s first electrified bridge, symbolizing the innovation of the late 19th century.

Popularly known as the English Bridge due to its traffic flow, the Palatine Bridge (maps), built between 1886 and 1890, replaced the Broken Bridge. Next to it, the Cloaca Maxima (late 6th century AD), a sewage system dating back to the times of the last kings of Rome, can be glimpsed.

In the heart of Rome, the Testaccio Bridge (maps), constructed between 1938 and 1948, was initially intended to be named Africa Bridge but was inaugurated only in 1948. As the first post-war bridge in Rome, it emerged when Africa brought only dramatic memories of the recent past. Built in travertine, it features a single arch spanning 122 meters.

Let’s return to the outskirts, this time towards the south

We head towards the Industry Bridge (maps), better known as the Iron Bridge. Designed by Belgian engineer Louis Hach, with iron and cast-iron arches, it was built in England between 1862 and 1863. Later, it was transported in pieces and assembled in Rome. Originally accommodating a railway line, today it serves vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

The structure experienced two fires, resulting in structural deformation and the collapse of one of the walkways. Consequently, the bridge was closed to traffic for restoration.

The Guglielmo Marconi Bridge, commonly known as the Marconi Bridge (maps), planned in the 1911 master plan, was built between 1937 and 1955. Stretching about 235 meters, it is Rome’s longest. Excavations in the area uncovered the remains of a river port, allegedly Cleopatra’s during her visit to Rome.

Concluding with the Ostiense Railway Overpass (maps), known as Settimia Spizzichino Bridge, constructed between 2009 and 2012. Its unique design, inspired by Calatrava’s works, positions it among Rome’s most iconic modern bridges. The bridge’s architecture, with its 160 meters of longitudinal development, accommodates three lanes per direction.

The modern bridges of Rome narrate the city’s recent history and the daily lives of millions.

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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