Rome, Bridge of Nero


Bridge of Nero: one of the bridges across the Tiber in Rome.

Pier of the bridge of Nero

The Pons Neronianus or Bridge of Nero (r.54-68) was built to connect the westernmost part of the Field of Mars to the Campus Vaticanus ("Vatican Field"), where the imperial family owned land along the Via Cornelia. Caligula had built a circus on the right bank of the Tiber and Nero used this park to entertain the Romans after the great fire of 64. The gardens were also the place where - according to Tacitus - Nero tortured the Christians to death (text), and we can imagine that the Romans who went out to see the executions of the arsonists, crossed this bridge.

It stood more or less on the site of the modern Ponte Vittorio Emanuele, but hardly anything of the ancient monument has survived. Only when the water of the Tiber is low, one can see the foundation of one of the four piers that once supported the Pons Neronianus.

It is likely that the capacity of the Bridge of Nero was insufficient, because within a century, the emperor Hadrian built the Bridge of Aelius, less than two hunderd meter upstream.