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Fabricio's Bridge

Answering to the question of what is the oldest bridge in Rome, usually refers to the Milvian Bridge, which existed as early as 200 BC, or the bridge Sublicio, even 600 BC, but does not consider, however, that these bridges were originally made of wood , and which were made several times reconstruct, in whole or in part. The last time such as the Milvian Bridge was made (in part) to jump from Garibaldi in 1849 to thwart the advance of the French troops.

The Ponte Fabricio instead, which is one of the two bridges connecting the city with the Tiber island, there is, but especially “resists” intact for over 2000 years. It can be said, therefore, that one of the bridges that have been maintained in their original structure, is the oldest of Rome (and perhaps the world).

The bridge is named Fabricio Fabricio Lucio, the curator of the Roman roads, whose name still stands on one of the arches.

Everyone knows that the crossing of the Tiber, until relatively recently, it was not as trivial as it is today: the bridges were not many, and recurrence of the river put a strain on the stability of those few.

The management and maintenance of the bridges was therefore a task of vital strategic importance and those who occupied it, in ancient Rome, were distinguished and rispettatissime. They are often invested with a sacred power and also operated the rituals necessary to obtain the favor of the gods. Today we trace the same word “pope”, which derives from “pontem facere”, ie: the pope was the “bridge builder”!

For the Romans the Ponte Fabricio is also known as the “bridge four heads”, and this because of the following legend.

It is said that towards the end of 1500, when Sixtus V decided to restore our bridge, assigned this task to four architects. They, over the period necessary to carry out the task assigned to him, showed great scandal because of their continual fighting for trivial reasons and perennial discord that animated them.

But Sixtus V, as a punishment, we know that really had a heavy hand (ricordardiamoci, for example, the fate that awaited those who dared to speak during the erection of the Vatican …). In fact, he waited patiently for the restoration giungessero at the end, then captured the four architects and had them executed right there on the same deck that they were busy restoring.

By way of warning, according to legend, Sixtus V placed on the Ponte Fabricio two sculptures, representing the faces of four architects, sculptures that are still visible today.

Each of the four heads turned angrily away from the other three, even though they are part of a single statue, and so those architects who have been at odds in life, are now condemned for eternity to share the same space.

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