Pons Fabricius is Rome’s Oldest Bridge

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Rome‘s historical monuments are so numerous that it’s difficult to see them all in one trip. There is so much to see and there are ancient things everywhere. It can be overwhelming. You might miss the oldest bridge in the city as you go through all the important buildings and ruins. It is worth noting, however, because it is an ancient Rome relic.

As it was called in antiquity, the Pons Fabricius is the oldest Roman bridge. The bridge is supported by two large arches and one smaller, more decorative arch at the intersection of the arches. It was constructed in 62 BCE. The bridge still stands in its original position and in its original condition – something that is rare for structures as old as it is.

On the site of an old wooden bridge that was destroyed by fire, the stone bridge we see today was constructed. Fabricius was the Roman official responsible for building roads and bridges. The bridge was thus named after him. The bridge was damaged by a flood in 23 BCE. However, only minor repairs to the brickwork have been made to Pons Fabricius to this day. You can still walk on it today, as it has been used continuously since its opening.

It runs from the Tiber Island at the river’s middle to the eastern Tiber side (the one with Colosseum). Pons Cestius is another Roman bridge that connects Tiber Island to the west side of the city (the one that has the Vatican). Tiber Island was once a center of medicine and would have been a popular destination for those seeking advice or healing. The island still has an operating hospital, and it is home to a popular summer festival.

The bridge is also known in Italian as the Ponte Fabricio (or the Ponte dei Quattro Capi). The Latin name of the bridge is the Ponte Fabricio. The latter, “quattro Capi”, refers to the two pillars depicting the two-faced Roman god Janus. These statues were not on the original bridge. They were moved there in 14th century.

Some Rome tours include the Pons Fabricius. This is used to explore Trastevere, the Jewish Ghetto or Tiber Island. Below are some affiliate links for a few of these tours. This means that I may earn a small commission if you book through the links, but it will not cost you any extra. Thanks.

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3 Responses to “Rome’s Oldest Bridge: Pons Fabricius”

  • Greg Speck said:

    The island was discovered by me as I walked along the river near Campo de Fiore on October 3. Although the bridge was fascinating, I didn’t know much about its history until reading your post. Thank you for this great post.

  • Francesco D’Arcangeli:

    Yes.

    I am from Rome and my fellow citizens built things to last. Unfortunately, modern counterparts seem not to have remembered this.

    It’s true, Rome can seem overwhelming to cover in just one trip. Even the roads you take have historical significance.

    62 BCE is more than any other state in the world!