Ponte Sant’Angelo, also known as Pons Aelius (Aelian Bridge), Pons Hadriani (Hadrian’s Bridge) or Ponte di Castello (Castle Bridge), is an ancient bridge in Rome, which connects Piazza di Ponte Sant’Angelo to the Lungotevere Castello, in front of the Sant’Angelo Castle.
The bridge was built in the year 134 by the emperor Hadrian, based on a project by a certain Demetrianus, to connect his mausoleum, now Castel Sant’Angelo, to the left bank of the Tiber River.
Ponte Sant’Angelo was covered with travertine and had three arches, which could be accessed by ramps. The ramps were supported by three minor arches on the left bank of the river and two on the right bank, but were destroyed in 1893 for the construction of the river banks.
In July 472, the bridge was used by the Gothic troops of Ricimer to attack the eastern part of the city, defended by the Roman emperor Anthemius.
In the Middle Ages, Ponte Sant’Angelo was used by pilgrims on their way to the Saint Peter’s Basilica, and was also known as the Bridge of Saint Peter (Pons Sancti Petri).
In 1535, Pope Clement VII had the statues of Saint Peter and Saint Paul placed at the entrance to the bridge, to which other statues depicting the four evangelists and the patriarchs Adam, Noah, Abraham and Moses were subsequently added.
In 1669, Pope Clement IX had a new parapet built, designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, above which ten statues depicting angels were placed. Of the previous statues, only those of Saints Peter and Paul remained.
On the bridge, near the opposite bank of the castle, there are the statues of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. The first holds the keys of heaven and the second holds a sword.
The angels present on the bridge display the instruments of the Passion of Christ. The engravings at the base of each statues are taken from the Old Testament.
HOW TO GET THERE
The closest Metro station is Lepanto, located about 1.3 kilometers away, on the Metro Line A. The closest bus stop is Rondinella, located about 200 meters away on Lungotevere Tor di Nona, on the bus Line 280.
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