Ancient Rome: Images and Pictures
photos by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.
Rome: Main Page Arch of Constantine Colisseum Roman Forum Ostia Herculaneum
FJ's Homepage Asclepius Images/Sites Imperial Fora Tiber River Other Rome Sites Pompeii

The Tiber River, Tiber Bridges,
and Tiber Island in Rome

[see below for descriptions of all the Ancient Tiber Bridges, listed in geographical, chronological, and alphabetical orders]

click on any picture below to see a larger image

Pons Fabricius (w/ Quattro Capi)
#1 #2 #3 #4

#1 - Pons Fabricius, connecting the Tiber Island with the left bank (East) of the Tiber; mid-day view looking north; whole bridge is ancient
#2 - Close-up of the inscription mentioning "Fabricius" at the top of the western arch
#3 - The "Quattro Capi" (four-headed pilaster) at the East end of the Pons Fabricius
#4 - late-afternoon view of Pons Fabricius, looking north from the East bank of the Tiber

Pons Cestius  and  Pons Aemilius (Ponte Rotto)
#5 #6 #7

#5 - Pons Cestius, connecting the Tiber Island with the right bank of the Tiber; mid-day view looking north; only the central span is ancient
#6 - single remaining span of the ancient Pons Aemilius, standing mid-stream just South of the Tiber Island; view from the East bank
#7 - another view of the Pons Aemilius; from the adjacent modern automobile bridge

Remains of an Ancient Asclepius Carving
[click here for more photos and information about Asclepius, the ancient healing god]
#8 #9 #10 #11

#8 - Remains of an "Asclepius Ship" carved into the travertine walls of the south-east side of the Tiber Island
#9 - Close-up showing details of Asclepius' staff, snake, and hair
#10 - Another close-up of the same
#11 - View from a distance; note the "ship" in the middle of the picture, far above the river's present level

Basilica of San Bartomoleo on the Tiber Island
#12 #13 #14 #15

#12 - Aerial view of the Tiber Island and bridges (from a commericial postcard, of course).
#13 - Basilica of San Bartolomeo (ca. 1000 A.D.), built on the site of an ancient Roman shrine to the healing god Asclepius
#14 - Four-sided Pillar in the Piazza in front of the basilica
#15 - Interior view of the Basilica (from a postcard)

Interior of the Basilica of San Bartolomeo
#16 #17 #18 #19 #20

#16 - Interior view of the church, showing the medieval well on the site of the ancient Asclepius shrine
#17 - Close-up of the well, viewed from the front.
#18 - Close-up of the well, showing the carvings on the north and west sides
#19 - Close-up of the well, showing the carvings on the north and east sides
#20 - Close-up of the carving of Jesus on the east side of the well

Pons Mulvius

#21-23 - three views from the Northwest (downstream on the right bank) of the Pons Mulvius (now also called Ponte Milvio or Ponte Molle)
#24 - one view from the Southwest (downstream on the left bank) of the two most ancient arches of the Pons Mulvius
#25-27 - closeups of some of the best-preserved ancient arches on the southern end of the Pons Mulvius

Ancient Bridges over the Tiber River

Many of the Ancient Roman bridges were partially modified or destroyed during construction of the present river embankments in the 1880's and 90's, but some portions still remain. Here are all the ancient bridges, listed in both chronological order (oldest to youngest) and geographical order (from North to South), with descriptions of each bridge in alphabetical order below the chart.  Alternate ancient and medieval [and modern] names are also given for each bridge.

Chronological Order (from Oldest to Youngest)... Geographical Order (from North to South)........
1) Pons Sublicius Pons Mulvius = Pons Milvius
2) Pons Mulvius = Pons Milvius Pons Aelius = Pons Hadriani
3) Pons Aemilius = Pons S. Mariae Pons Neronianus = Pons Triumphalis
4) Pons Fabricius = Pons Iudaeorum Pons Agrippae
5) Pons Cestius = Pons Gratiani Pons Aurelius = Pons Antoninus
6) Pons Agrippae Pons Fabricius = Pons Iudaeorum
7) Pons Neronianus = Pons Triumphalis Pons Cestius = Pons Gratiani
8) Pons Aelius = Pons Hadriani Pons Aemilius = Pons S. Mariae
9) Pons Aurelius = Pons Antoninus Pons Sublicius
10) Pons Probi = Pons Theodosii Pons Probi = Pons Theodosii

Most of these bridges spanned the entire river, except for two which lead to/from the Tiber Island. Pons Fabricius connects the island and the left (East) bank and Pons Cestius connects the island and the right (West) bank. Click here for an Interactive Map of Ancient Rome, with a drop-down menu that allows you to see the location of numerous sites, including eight of the ancient bridges.  Or click here for Another Clickable Map of Rome, from ItalyCyberGuide, including their useful Index (see "Ponte").

Brief Descriptions of Each Bridge:
(prefixed numbers refer to chronological order, as in table above;  but listed below in alphabetical order by original name)

8) Pons Aelius = Pons Hadriani = Pons S. Petri  [modern Ponte S. Angelo, by Hadrian's Mausoleum]

  • built under Emperor Hadrian, completed 134 C.E.;  three central arches are still original
  • topped by statues of SS. Peter & Paul from medieval period (1527/35?), and lots of angels by Bernini (1669-71)
  • both ancient ramps were uncovered during river widening (1892-94), but then destroyed as new bridge ends were built
  • 3) Pons Aemilius = Pons S. Mariae = Pons Senatorum = Pons Maior/Maximus = Pons Lepidi/ Lapideus  [called Ponte Rotto today]
  • the first stone bridge from within Rome across the Tiber river; connecting the Forum Boarium with the Trastevere area
  • pillars begun 179 B.C.E. (with wooden superstructure); stone arches 142 B.C.E.; restored (or rebuilt slightly to the south) by Emperor Augustus 12 B.C.E.
  • partially destroyed in 1557, 1598, 1887;  only one arch now remains in mid-stream!
  • located just North of the present day Ponte Palatino, just south of the Tiber Island
  • 6) Pons Agrippae
  • located about 160 meters North of Pons Aurelius
  • built during or before reign of Emperor Claudius (41-54 C.E.);  restored 147 C.E.;  one inscriptional reference (CIL 6.31545)
  • remains of four piers discovered in 1887; still somewhat visible on right bank, but mostly under water
  • 9) Pons Aurelius = Pons Antoninus = Pons Valentinianus = Pons Ianicularis  [modern Ponte Sisto]
  • probably built under Emperor Caracalla (211-217 C.E.)
  • rebuilt/restored under Emperor Valentinian I (365-66), as some fragmentary inscriptions attest (CIL 6.31402-12)
  • destroyed 772;  rebuilt 1475 under Pope Sixtus IV, partly on the ancient foundations
  • some remains of piers and an entrance arch (left bank) still extant today
  • 5) Pons Cestius = Pons Gratiani  [modern Ponte S. Bartolomeo]
  • the first stone bridge from the Tiber Island to the right bank (Trastevere area);  probably built 62-27 B.C.E.
  • originally had one large central arch with two smaller side arches (in contrast to today's three large arches)
  • replaced by a new bridge, rededicated in 370 C.E. by Emperor Gratian;  3 of 4 inscriptions still in situ (CIL 6.1175-76, 31250-51)
  • rebuilt in 1888-92, when channel West of Tiber island widened from 48 to 76 meters (but the central arch was reproduced exactly, even  reusing some ancient material; Platner-Ashby, 400)
  • 4) Pons Fabricius = Pons Iudaeorum  [modern Ponte dei Quattro Capi]
  • an earlier wooden bridge between the left bank (Central Rome) and the Tiber Island was replaced by this stone bridge in 62 B.C.E.
  • built by curator viarum L. Fabricius (CIL 6.1305, 31549; both inscriptions still visible on East arch)
  • repaired in 21 B.C.E. by consuls M. Lollius & Q. Lepidus
  • "best preserved bridge in Rome, being practically the original structure" (Platner-Ashby, 400)
  • two main arches with one small central arch still exist  (used as a footbridge today)
  • two of the pilasters {rectangular pillars} with four-faced hermae {i.e. Hermes?} on East end are original; but the rest of the parapet is from 1679
  • 2) Pons Mulvius = Pons Milvius  [modern Ponte Mole/Molle]
  • located about 4.5 km (3 miles) North of Ancient Rome on the Via Flaminia
  • original (wooden) bridge built about 220 B.C.E.; stone bridge built in 109 B.C.E., a good portion of which still remains today!
  • site of the famous "Battle at the Milvian Bridge", in which Constantine defeated Maxentius in 312 C.E.
  • 7) Pons Neronianus = Pons Triumphalis
  • probably built under Emperor Nero (54-68 C.E.) to connect the campus Martius with the Vatican meadows & Nero's circus
  • destroyed probably sometime before 4th cent. C.E., and never rebuilt
  • some remains visible just South of the modern Ponte Vittorio Emanuele, but only at very low water levels
  • 10) Pons Probi = Pons Theodosii = Pons Marmoreus Theodosii
  • probably newly built under Emperor Probus (276-82 C.E.), just South of Porta Trigemina (i.e. near middle of Aventine Hill)
  • rebuilt 381-387 (same site or nearby); partially destroyed early 11th cent; further dismantled 1484; last remains removed 1878; i.e. nothing left to see!
  • 1) Pons Sublicius
  • "the oldest and most famous of the bridges across the Tiber, . . . constructed of wood without metal of any sort whatsoever" (Platner-Ashby, 401)
  • thus dated extremely early (3rd or 4th cent. B.C.E.?); in use (continually rebuilt) until 5th cent. C.E., but no extant remains
  • near Forum Boarium, but exact location disputed; probably just South of Pons Aemilius, on site of original ford across river (i.e. somewhat shallower water just South of the Tiber Island).
  • Note: For more information, the hyperlinks on most of the above bridges (and for the Tiber Island) will take you to the appropriate articles from Samuel Ball Platner's A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome [Oxford University Press, 1929], now in the public domain, and generously put on-line by William P. Thayer.  (Thanks, Bill!)  See also his page on other Roman Bridges, and his collection of Roman Bridges: Web Links.

    See also another website dedicated to the Tiber Island,
    maintained by Bruno Leoni, a native of Rome.


    Return to the main page of Ancient Rome: Images and Pictures
    Return to the Homepage of Rev. Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.
    This page was last updated on May 28, 2009
    Copyright © 1994--2009