Ponte Duca d’Aosta: an engineering masterpiece in the Flaminio area
Ponte Duca d’Aosta represents a great example of engineering and modern architecture in the Capital.
It is in fact a reinforced concrete bridge with a single arch whose dimensions are absolutely remarkable: 220 metres long for 30 metres wide.
Ponte Duca d’Aosta too can be therefore classified among the urbanization works pursued during the fascist regime to give new shape to the Empire Capital.
More specifically the bridge links the Flaminio quarter to the Foro Italico, pointing straight towards Mussolini’s Stele, at the entrance of the sports complex.
Ponte Duca d’Aosta is one of the XX century bridges on the Tiber, it was realized in 1939 and it was meant to constitute the axis of triumphal entry to the Foro Italico complex.
Its project was assigned by an open competition announced in 1935 in which many leading architects in Italian modern architecture scene participated; among these, for instance, Enrico del Debbio himself, author and designer of the Foro Italico complex.
The assignment went however to another architect: Vincenzo Faloso, architect and engineer of Dalmatic origin but with Rome as adoptive city, who designed the bridge: it is composed of a bearing structure in reinforced concrete, with a big central arch that has a variable section with a very thin centreline, detail that gives an image of great elegance and lightness to the bridge.
Ponte Duca d’Aosta is moreover completely covered in travertine, and by its entrances four commemorative cippus are located (two on each side), with basso-rilievos in the style of the lictors representing the battles fought on rivers Isonzo, Tagliamento, Sile and Adige by the third army during World War I. The bridge is in fact named after duke of Aosta Emanule Filiberto who, during the wartime was commander of the third army and led it to victory after Caporetto.
In his project Vincenzo Fasolo also planned the insertion of monumental steps on each side of the bridge, allowing the descent to the river and connected to a course equipped for sports practice, consequently linked to Foro Italico, but they were never realized.
The bridge is anyway a great example of technical and technological evolution, requiring for its realization specific arrangements, especially in the process of construction of its foundations.