Rome, Bridge of Fabricius


Bridge of Fabricius: oldest bridge in Rome that is still in use.

Bridge of Fabricius

The island in the Tiber is connected with the rivers banks by two bridges. The Pons Cestius between the island and Trastevere was destroyed between 1888 and 1892 and replaced by a modern bridge. According to the historian Cassius Dio, the elegant Pons Fabricius was built in 62 BCE;note it probably replaced an older bridge, made of wood, and survives to the present day.


The Pons Fabricius connects the island to the Field of Mars - or, to be more precise, to the Theater of Marcellus. The bridge is 62 meters long and 5½ meters wide. The building inscription,note which can be found on four places, reads

Lvcivs FABRICIVS Cai Filivs CVRator VIARvm

meaning that Lucius Fabricius, the son of Gaius Fabricius, as curator of the roads ordered the construction of the bridge.

Fourheaded herm

The bridge is made tuff and peperino stone and was covered with travertine. (In 1679, the travertine was removed and replaced by bricks.) The main two arches are 24½ meters wide, and the small arch in the central pier was made to enable high water to flow along more easily. In this way, some pressure was removed from the bridge.The pier has an exceptionally heavy foundation, which may explain why the bridge has survived.

To the building inscription was later added, in smaller letters, that Marcus Lollius and Quintus Aemilius Lepidus, the consuls of 21 BCE, improved the monument. This may refer to adjustments made necessary after the great flood of 23. Perhaps the small archh in the central pier is meant.

The bridge of Fabricius is adorned by two herms with four heads, and is therefore often called "bridge of the four heads" (quattro capi). These herms are now very damaged.