One of the largest bridges ever constructed by the Romans, The Bridge of Tiberius, also known as the Augustus bridge, is one of the most visited historical sites in Italy.
The bridge was built so the Flaminian Way, an ancient Roman roadway connecting Rome to Rimini via the Apennine Mountains, could be completed. It also acted as a starting point for the Aemillian Way, which led to Northern Italy. Not only was the bridge used to connect major highways within the empire, but it was also played a major part in Rimini’s everyday functionality. The area had taken a hit during the Civil Wars was in desperate need of revitalization.
Emperor Augustus started the initial construction of this enormous bridge. The work continued for the next seven years ending in 21 A.D. The bridge was thus was named the Bridge of Augustus and Tiberius in honor of Emperor Tiberius who was in power at the time. The name has been shortened over the years and is often referred to as either one of the two names.
The bridge spans about 230 feet, or 70 meters, across the canal and stands 13 feet, about 4 meters, tall. The bridge is built so that it curves slightly upwards in what is referred to as donkey back. There are five arches built on the underside of the bridge with pillars strategically positions to reduce the force of the water flowing through.
The bridge stands as a symbol of the Roman Empire’s ingenuity and craftsmanship. The builders carved in various religious and political symbols into the stones so that everyone would appreciate the power that went into its construction.
This structure has beaten the odds time and time again through the years. One such incident happened in World War II when the Germans were bombing all the bridges over the Marecchia River to stop the advancement of the Allied forces. By some miracle, the explosives placed on the Bridge of Tiberius malfunctioned and didn’t explode.
This vital piece of architecture is one of the few remaining Roman bridges still in use today. It is open to all traffic, excluding large trucks, and is still major thoroughfare in Rimini.