Ponte Vittorio Emanuele: to look at it with no distractions
Walking down the Tiber it’s easy to run into a bridge. The Tiber bridges, nevertheless, suffer a little from the inattentive attitude of visitors walking across them.
This is caused by the incredible beauty of the city and the monuments situated by the banks of the river, often attracting eyes elsewhere.
It is for instance the case of Ponte Vittorio Emanuele, that links Piazza Paoli and Lungotevere Vaticano.
Situated in the heart of Rome, Ponte Vittorio Emanuele runs the risk of being used as vantage point for what surrounds it, while it really has an interesting story too.
Ponte Vittorio Emanuele celebrates the unity of Italy and the figure of the King. It was planned in 1886 by Ennio de Rossi, who designed a bridge carried in three arches made of stone spanning a total distance of 110 metres. The works started in 1908 and the bridge was completed and inaugurated in 1911, on the occasion of the world Exposition, in addition to the fiftieth anniversary of the unity of Italy.
Four big pedestals are placed at the entrances to the bridge, supporting four bronze sculptures representing the winged Victory, realized by Elmo Palazzi, Luigi Casadio, Amleto Cataldi and Francesco Pifferetti, who were entrusted with this work after an open competition in 1909.
Moreover, the central piers are decorated with four travertine sculpture groups representing the Unity of Italy, Freedom, the defeated Oppression and the Loyalty to the constitution. These were not yet set up on the bridge’s first inauguration, as their construction in travertine, starting from a chalk model, had caused a delay. The bridge therefore obtained a second inauguration in 1912.
It is in short a highly representative bridge for the Italian State, to be looked at more closely before moving our eyes to the view of the Janiculum it offers us.