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Ponte Sisto, Rome

4.3
#436 of 2,926 in Things to do in Rome
Ponte Sisto is a bridge in Rome's historic centre, spanning the river Tiber. It connects Via dei Pettinari in the Rione of Regola to Piazza Trilussa in Trastevere. The construction of the current bridge occurred between 1473 and 1479, and was commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV (r. 1471-84), after whom it is named, from the architect Baccio Pontelli, who reused the foundations of a prior Roman bridge, the Pons Aurelius, which had been destroyed during the early Middle Ages. Currently traffic on the bridge is restricted to pedestrians.
The predecessor bridge to Ponte Sisto, the Pons Aurelius, was first mentioned by authors in the 4th and 5th centuries and was later known in the Middle Ages as "Pons Antoninus", "Pons Antonini in Arenula", and "Pons Ianicularis id est pons ruptus vulgariter nominatus et Tremelus et Antoninus".
The Pons Antoninus was partially destroyed in 772, at the time the Lombard king Desiderius took Rome, and rebuilt in its current form by Pope Sixtus IV, whose name it carries to this day.
The bridge is architecturally characteristic because of the circular "oculus" or eye lightening the masonry of its central spandrel: this was erected to diminish the river's pressure on the bridge in case of flood.
On the left bridge head are placed the copies of two marble slabs (removed in the 1990s after continued vandalism) bearing an elegant Latin inscription composed by Renaissance humanist Bartolomeo Platina in honour of Sixtus IV in occasion of the construction of the bridge. They recite:
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  • This attractive late 15th century bridge was tidied up and pedestrianised in 2000 and allows a pleasant stroll across to Piazza Trilussa and boho Trastevere. We went across on a Friday night when ever...  more »
  • Small pedestrian bridge with beautiful views, very frequented, often dare street artists, it is worth a visit if you are nearby.
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  • Ponte Sisto was built in 215 A.D., at the time of Emperor Marcus Aurelius Severo Antonino, to unite the left bank of the Tiber with Trastevere. In the following centuries it suffered damage and abandoned, for this reason it was also called "Ruptus" or "Tremulus". In 1475, on the occasion of the Jubilee, Sisto IV had the old bridge that took the name of the Sisto Bridge. Subsequently it was restored several times and on the occasion of the Jubilee of 2000 was returned the image of the fifteenth century. Today from Sisto Bridge you can enjoy an unusual and spectacular panorama on the Tiber.
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