Wonder  }  Architecture

Nomentano Bridge

A timid protagonist of history

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Where is


Via Nomentana, 414, 00141 Roma RM, Italia (20m s.l.m.)


What it is and where it is

Where the Via Nomentana meets the Aniene River, in what is now the Roman neighborhood of Montesacro, there is a very old bridge. Obviously I am not talking about the Tazio Bridge, built last century to accommodate modern traffic. The one I'm referring to is unmistakable, though a bit hidden, almost defiladed compared to the many famous Roman works in the area: today we will get acquainted with the Nomentano Bridge. Here it is, with its round archway flying lightly over the waters, and above it ... a structure that does not look so light, quite the contrary! It rather makes one think of a fortification. But will it really be so?

Why is it special

Well, yes. In the course of its long, very long existence, the Nomentano Bridge has been subject to so many adventures, remakes and adaptations in primis. In particular, since the Middle Ages, it has been equipped with walls and turrets that defend and define a narrow passage. The effect when you walk through it is surreal, to say the least, especially since it cannot be crossed in a hurry, but only on foot. And that is how one appreciates its 60-meter-long walkway built of travertine and gabine stone, accompanied by the song of the waters of the Aniene River flowing past the archway.

Not to be missed

If only the stones could speak, how many stories we would hear here, where materials and construction techniques testify to the different interventions, battlements, turrets and galleries recall the defensive function entrusted to the Bridge, and, if you sharpen your eyesight, on the lintel of the upstream archway you can see the relief of an inverted club: it was the symbol of Hercules, protector of livestock. By now the city has come this far, but until a few centuries ago, we were in open country, and that explains the passage of cattle over this wonderful bridge.

A bit of history

In good probability, this bridge already existed in the time of Menenius Agrippa. We are talking about 400 years before Christ. If, in addition to the many centuries, we add the geographical location north of Rome, which made it one of the main entrances to the city, we understand that if we want to study the history of the bridge in depth, we have to get comfortable and prepare ourselves for a very long list of facts, dates and personalities. Rather interesting, however, is the fact that we can look back in time thanks to the many paintings and photographs depicting Ponte Nomentano.


If you are in the middle of the bridge stop for a second to consider one thing: before you stood on this same spot were immense personalities, names that shaped history and the world as we know it. Shall we take the liberty of citing an example? It was here that Charlemagne met Pope Leo III in the year the latter crowned him emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

Ponte NomentanoPierre-Nicolas Brisset, 1837ca, View of the Nomentano Bridge, oil on canvas

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Noemi De Simone

A small bridge for a great history. From Roman construction to early medieval fortifications, from Charlemagne to the Livestock Customs House, this monument has seen a lot indeed! And for those who want to walk, this is a truly romantic place.


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