Walking along the Tiber River feels a bit like walking through the local history. Reaching and crossing the many bridges in Rome one by one is a fantastic way to enjoy a scenic stroll through the different neighborhoods and discover the city’s art and events. While it’s impossible to walk through all the bridges of Rome in one day, strolling along the river from the Centro Storico all the way to Trastevere and the Jewish Ghetto is a great way to see many of them.
Some of the Roman bridges will probably look similar to you, but there are definitely many that will tickle your curiosity and that you will remember. Different in style and portrait of a different era, every bridge in Rome has its own purpose and history. Travel with me along the Tiber river that for centuries has been the soul of the city and its bridges the connection with its dwellers. If you ask me, it’s one of the perfect ways to learn about and enjoy Rome for free!
Table of Contents
- 1 How Many Bridges Are There in Rome?
- 2 What Were the Bridges in Rome Used For?
- 3 What is the Largest Bridge in Rome?
- 4 The Most Important and Beautiful Bridges of Rome: What and Where They Are
- 4.1 Ponte Sant’Angelo
- 4.2 Ponte Fabricio
- 4.3 Ponte Cestio
- 4.4 Ponte Rotto (Pons Aemilius)
- 4.5 Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II
- 4.6 Ponte Sisto
- 4.7 Ponte Regina Margherita
- 4.8 Ponte Umberto I
- 4.9 Ponte Matteotti
- 4.10 Ponte della Musica
- 4.11 Ponte Milvio
- 4.12 Ponte Duca d’Aosta
- 4.13 Ponte Flaminio
- 4.14 Ponte Settimia Spizzichino
- 4.15 Ponte dell’Industria
How Many Bridges Are There in Rome?
Counting from Castel Giubileo bridge in northern Rome crossed by the A90 highway all the way to Spinaceto Mezzocamino bridge south of the city, the bridges of Rome that cross the Tiber river are 28. We are considering only those currently standing and operative. Throughout history, many were built and destroyed or permanently damaged. Among the Roman bridges that don’t exist anymore, there are Ponte Neroniano (Nero bridge) and the ancient Pons Sublicius, also called the Theodosius bridge.
While this article is a selection of the most famous bridges of Rome we can see over the Tiber, the city counts also other bridges that cross other local rivers such as the Aniene. The bridges crossing the Aniene river that are currently functional are six: Lucano, Mammolo, Nomentano, Tazio, delle Valli, Salario.
In total, counting the buildings over both the Tiber and the Aniene rivers, in Rome there are 34 bridges.
What Were the Bridges in Rome Used For?
The bridges in Rome had mainly the purpose of exploiting the Tiber for trading and connecting different neighborhoods as well as reaching important extra-urban arteries. The decoration of the Roman bridges is every time linked to the ruler’s interest in building prestige and reputation around their family name and work, be it an emperor, a pope, or a modern king.
In ancient Rome, the first bridges, first in wood then in stone and brickwork, were built to transport foods, grains, and building materials to the city from nearby ports such as Ostia and to surrounding villages. Bridges in Rome provided also a safe passage for trading, commercial, and war carts.
What is the Largest Bridge in Rome?
The largest bridge in Rome is Ponte Flaminio, measuring 255 meters in length (836 feet) and 27 meters wide (88 feet). A stunning Roman bridge, it connects the city to the Foro Italico and important streets such as via Cassia and via Flaminia.
Measuring 235 meters (771 feet) in length and 32 meters wide (105 feet), Ponte Marconi is also one of the largest bridges in Rome. Its construction kicked off in 1937, the same year the scientist it was named after, Guglielmo Marconi, died. It connects Trastevere with the modern neighborhoods of EUR and Ostiense.
The Most Important and Beautiful Bridges of Rome: What and Where They Are
Arguably one of the most spectacular bridges in Rome, Ponte Sant’Angelo was built by Emperor Hadrian to connect his mausoleum (Castel Sant’Angelo) to Rome’s Centro Storico. Ponte Sant’Angelo is one of the oldest Roman bridges still in use. Dating back to the 2nd century CE, the bridge we can see and cross today is the result of the master renovation and decoration by one of the biggest artists Rome has had, Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
One of the only-pedestrian Roman bridges, Ponte Sant’Angelo offers striking views from wherever you look at it, whether you are coming from Flaminio, from Trastevere, or from the Hadrian Mausoleum itself. Dotted with beautiful marble angels by Bernini and his pupils, on the end near the city center are also the two statues of Saint Peter and Saint Paul placed here in 1533 under the rule of Pope Clemens VII.
Make sure you don’t miss my article on the most beautiful masterpieces of Bernini in Rome.
Pons Fabricius is the oldest bridge in Rome still in use. It connects Tiber Island to the left bank of the river and the Sant’Angelo neighborhood. Probably replacing a former wooden bridge, Pons Fabricius takes its name from who originally commissioned it in 62 BC like the inscription on the bridge itself reminds us: L(UCIUS) FABRICIUS C(AI) F(ILIUS) CUR(ATOR) VIAR(UM) FACIUNDUM COERAVIT, Latin for “Lucius Fabricius, son of Claudius and roads’ curator, made build”.
Of course, Ponte Fabricio bridge is to be considered the oldest if we don’t count all the bridges that have been demolished and don’t exist anymore such as the old Ponte Sublicio which has nothing to do with the current Sublicio bridge, Pons Aemilius known as Ponte Rotto and even Ponte Milvio. All in all, keeping in mind its long history, crossing Ponte Fabricio is fascinating. It’s a small bridge, it reeks of ancient history and takes you to Tiber Island, another corner of Rome with an extremely intriguing past.
Built around the same time as Pons Fabricius, the Pons Cestius bridge connects the other side of Tiber Island to the mainland, namely the Trastevere neighborhood. Ponte Cestio bridge was probably built by Lucio Cestio and throughout the centuries renovated several times after being damaged by the floods of the river including in the 2nd and in the 4th centuries. Around 365 CE, it was restored featuring a large arch flanked by two smaller vaults.
The bridge displays some inscriptions depending on who ordered the restorations such as emperor Graziano in 370 CE and Rome’s senator Benedictus in the 12th century. Ponte Cestio has also undergone restorations in the 15th century like Pons Fabricius and in the 17th century by Pope Innocent XI. This ancient bridge of Rome has never quite had an easy life: heavily damaged during the French invasion in 1849, it has been fully restored in the late 19th century giving it the current look with three large arches coated in travertine and peperino from the Alban Hills.
Ponte Rotto (Pons Aemilius)
It’s known as Ponte Rotto because it’s broken (“rotto” in Italian), but the official name is Ponte Emilio (Pons Aemilius), and it’s the oldest bridge in Rome to date but one that is not in use anymore. Originally built in wood, Pons Aemilius has been the first Roman bridge in stonework. While the very first wooden construction dates back to 241 BC by Manlio Emilio Lepido for the opening of the large ancient Aurelia road toady Via della Lungaretta, the bridge was completed only in 142 BC with the building of the stone arches.
We can see the remaining piece of Pons Aemilius standing in front of the modern Ponte Palatino bridge built to replace the ancient “ponte rotto”. In time, it has changed several names. In 13 BC it was named Ponte Massimo after the emperor Augustus Pontefice Maximus because he ordered a complete restoration and in 872 Pope John VIII named it Ponte Santa Maria after turning the pagan temple of Purtunus in Christian church. Today, this ancient broken bridge makes a fascinating view along the Tiber in Rome.
Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II
Located right after Ponte Sant’Angelo going towards Trastevere and the Jewish Ghetto, Vittorio Emanuele II bridge is 110 meters long (360 feet) and 20 meters wide (66 feet). Built at the beginning of the 20th century from a project by architect Ennio de Rossi, this is one of the few Roman bridges the parapets of which are decorated with large statues.
The four marble sculptures represent the virtues of the first king of unified Italy and were commissioned to artists Giuseppe Romagnoli, Italo Griselli, Cesare Reduzzi, and Giovanni Nicolini. Each header is decorated with two bronze winged victories by sculptors Elmo Palazzi, Luigi Casadio, Amleto Cataldi, and Francesco Pifferetti. Inaugurated in 1911 in the occasion of the Universal Exposition and the 50th anniversary of the Italian unification, Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II connects the Centro Storico with the Vatican and the Borgo quarter.
Even though less decorated than the Sant’Angelo and Vittorio Emanuele II bridges of Rome, Ponte Sisto bridge is no less evocative. An evening walk with the background of Castel Sant’Angelo and the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the most romantic things to do in Rome. Originally, this was the place of an ancient Roman bridge probably built by Agrippa in 12 BC and replaced because heavily damaged by river floods.
The bridge we see today was built by Pope Sixtus IV della Rovere in the 15th century to be fully functional and reason of pride for the Jubilee of 1475 and to connect Trastevere and Vatican City to the historic center. Through the centuries, Ponte Sisto underwent a series of revamping sessions due to both the river activity and the increasing traffic. Featuring four large vaults, this is probably one of the most famous bridges in Rome also thanks to its position in between highly popular neighborhoods.
Make sure you read our guide to the most romantic hotels in Rome.
Ponte Regina Margherita
Also known simply as Ponte Margherita and built between 1886 and 1891, Ponte Regina Margherita bridge connects Piazza del Popolo in Campo Marzio and the large Via Cola di Rienzo road in the Prati neighborhood. It is named after the member of the Savoy family who becamse the first queen of unified Italy because the wife of the first king, Vittorio Emanuele II, had died in 1855, so before the unification was reached.
Made of three large arcades, it’s 111 meters long (roughly 365 feet) and coated in travertine. It was commissioned to architect Angelo Vescovali in an area historically important for the boats and trading connected to the river and later for the presence of beach resorts that attracted wealthy citizens, and passionate swimmers and rowers.
Ponte Umberto I
Devoted to the husband of Regina Margherita di Savoia, also Ponte Umberto I bridge is a work of architect Angelo Vescovali and was built between 1885 and 1895. Measuring 105 meters in length (105 feet) and 20 meters wide (65 feet), it features three large brick arcades coated with travertine.
It connects Piazza dei Tribunali where is the huge building of Italy’s Court of Justice (Corte di Cassazione) also known as Palazzaccio to Rione Ponte and Centro Storico towards Piazza Navona, so the newborn Prati area to the historic center. Despite years of debates against the urban planning for the creation of Prati area, in 1881 the works started and in 1921 the local municipality officially approved the institution of the new district.
Make sure you read our article about the most famous and impressive buildings in Rome.
Connecting the modern Prati area with the Flaminio neighborhood, the Ponte Matteotti bridge in Rome was built between 1924 and 1929, the year of its inauguration. Reaching the area of Viale delle Milizie, originally the bridge name was Ponte delle Milizie, became Ponte Littorio during the Fascism after the “fascio littorio”, the ancient Roman weapon used as a symbol by the fascist rulers.
Measuring 133 meters in length (436 feet) and 20 meters wide (65 feet), after the fall of the Fascist rule, it was named after Giacomo Matteotti, the socialist deputy murdered by the fascists around this area of Rome because he was against the Duce’s regime.
Ponte della Musica
This is one of the most modern bridges in Rome located in the Flaminio quarter and it connects it to the Foro Italico, the area of Rome where is the Stadio Olimpico at the foot of Monte Mario hill. Even though it’s known as Ponte della Musica (music bridge) because of its proximity to Renzo Piano‘s work Auditorium Parco della Musica, its real name is Ponte Armando Trovajoli, an Italian pianist, composer, and orchestra director who died in 2013.
A large steel and concrete work, this Roman bridge measures 190 meters in length (623 feet). Its tall side arches lean towards the river and give it a winding, elegant look. This is a pedestrian bridge with lanes devoted to bikes and public transport.
Ponte Milvio is one of the most ancient Roman bridges still standing in all its power and majesty. If we don’t consider the fact that it was completely renovated and revamped, this would be the oldest bridge in Rome, its first construction (in wood) dating back to the 3rd century BC. The first mention of Ponte Milvio is by Titus Livius and refers to the battle of the Metaurus between Rome and Carthage that took place in 207 and then another mention about the famous battle of the Milvian bridge between Maxentius and Constantine the Great in 312.
The bridge features six arches, the central ones being the largest, one of which was blown up by Garibaldi troops in 1849 during the Italian Risorgimento and Pope Pius IX commissioned its restoration. Throughout history, the Milvian bridge has always been a pivotal hub connecting Rome with northern Italy and from where the important Via Flaminia road crossed the Tiber towards the north where other crucial arteries are including the long Via Cassia road.
Ponte Milvio continued to play its vital role also in the Middle Ages when it was fortified, and in the following centuries restored and modified many times, including a renovation in 1805 by the famous architect Valadier.
Ponte Duca d’Aosta
This is one of the bridges in Rome I always drive through to go home from the city center. Devoted to Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy Duke of Aosta, Ponte Duca d’Aosta bridge was built between 1936 and 1939 with the collaboration of architect Vincenzo Fasolo and engineer Antonio Martinelli, and connects the Flaminio neighborhood with the Foro Italico, a sports complex originally known as Foro Mussolini. With its 222 meters in length (728 feet) and 30 meters wide (98 feet), it’s one of the largest bridges in Rome.
Entirely coated in travertine limestone from Tivoli, Ponte Duca d’Aosta features bulky marble headers at each edge carved with episodes from WWI that took place near important Italian rivers such as Isonzo, Tagliamento, Piave, and Sile. Among the episodes, it narrates the actions of the 3rd Armata led by the Duke of Aosta in the battle of Caporetto.
The works for Ponte Flaminio bridge started in 1938 under the Fascist rule and was going to be named XXVIII Ottobre (28th October) to celebrate the Fascism and the March on Rome by Mussolini. Construction however was halted in 1943 because of too much damage caused by the WWII and began again in 1947. The bridge was finally inaugurated in 1951 with the name Ponte della Libertà (freedom bridge) to celebrate the end of the dictatorship. Finally in 1961 this beautiful bridge was given its current name reminding of the ancient consular road via Flaminia.
The increase in traffic and the need for a connection with the northern roads of via Cassia and via Flaminia were the main purpose for building this bridge, meant to be an epic entrance to the city. To give it a monumental and awe-inspiring look, symbols of Ancient Rome such as the eagle and imposing pillars were used.
Ponte Settimia Spizzichino
Located between Garbatella and Ostiense, Settimia Spizzichino is one of the most scenic modern bridges in Rome with a shape somehow reminding of a cobra. One of the largest bridges in Rome, Ponte Settimia Spizzichino is actually a railway flyover and measures 240 meters in length (787 feet), 125 of which pass over the line B of Rome metro and the Roma-Ostia Lido railway.
Featuring two roadways with three lanes for each direction, this scenic Roman bridge was inspired by contemporary Spanish architecture in Seville and Valencia and was devoted to the memory of the only woman survivor of the raid that took place in the Jewish Ghetto in 1943 and deported to Auschwitz concentration camp. What makes this a one-of-a-kind bridge in Rome is its lighting: white light on the exterior while the interior is spruced up with colourful LED ligths.
Called by the Romans “ponte di ferro”, iron bridge, Ponte dell’Industria, Italian for Bridge of Industry, is located in the Ostiense neighborhood and is one of the fascinating relics of Rome’s bygone industrial past.
Measuring 131 meters (430 feet) in length, it was built between 1862 and 1863 to connect Termini station to Civitavecchia railways. It was inaugurated in 1863 when Rome was under the rule of Pope Pius IX: the first locomotive pass through in July 1863, later in the same month two trains at the same time to test the weight capacity, and in September of the same year, the first train of the Rome-Civitavecchia railway at the presence of the pontiff.
At the time of its construction, it was the longest drawbridge in Europe. As part of the urban master plan of 1909, it was open to the traffic of cars and vehicles on both directions and pedestrians can walk on both sides of the bridge.
Make sure you read our post on the best things to see and do in Ostiense.
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