Ponte Cestio in Rome

 Where, if not in Rome, you can get acquainted with such a variety of hand-made works, whose age also tends to eternity? Not every country, let alone a city, can boast of such a number of monuments of art and architecture that have "celebrated" their 2000th anniversary.

One of these exemplary "heroes of the day", created before our era, is considered the Pont de Cestio, which ranks second among the oldest bridges in Rome that have survived to this day.

Sometime between 46 and 44 BC, the Cestio Bridge connected the island of Tiberina to the right bank of the Tiber in the Trastevere region. The construction of this bridge is associated with one of the representatives of the Cestius family, after whom he was named.

Of the currently functioning bridge structures, the Cestius Bridge in antiquity is second only to the neighboring Fabricho Bridge. Each of these crossings is conditionally a continuation of the other. So, along the Fabricho Bridge, you can get to the Tiber Island from the left bank of the river and, passing it, go to the other bank of the Tiber along the Chestio Bridge. Or in the opposite direction.

Throughout history, the bridge has been repeatedly rebuilt, restored and renamed. During the reign of the three emperors Valentinian I, Gratian and Valens, in 370 AD, the bridge was rebuilt using various types of tuff and materials from the ruined portico of the nearby Theater of Marcellus. Then it was renamed the Gratian Bridge. And much later, starting from the 14th century, the building became known as the Bridge of St. Bartholomew (Bartholomew) in unison with the Church of San Bartolomeo on the island of Tiberin.

At the end of the 19th century, when the embankment was being reconstructed and the western channel increased from 48 to 76 meters, the ancient bridge was subject to demolition. But it was decided to increase the building to the required size, and the two outermost small arches of the original design were expanded to the size of the main central one. Ancient, but fortified and updated - this is how the three-arched 80-meter Chestio Bridge now appears before us.

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Well, how this bridge was earlier can only be seen in rare photographs of the late 19th century, taken on the eve of a radical reconstruction. Or on unique works of art, such as, for example, an engraving dedicated to this bridge by the famous Italian artist Luigi Rossini. In 1822, the author depicted the ancient crossing in detail on an engraving, which he called “View of the Cestio Bridge”.

But, of course, it is better to see everything with your own eyes, to personally touch the parapet, behind which the endless Tiber is always in a hurry, and to feel under your feet the entire thickness of two millennia, enclosed in the stone foundation of the ancient Bridge of Honor.

Getting there

The most convenient way to get to the Cestio Bridge from Termini station is by bus, No. 170,85, which runs every 10 minutes during the daytime, the journey time is about 15 minutes, you need to go to the Foro Olitorio stop, you will have to walk a little from the stop. By taxi, the journey will take about 6-7 minutes.