All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to email@example.com. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
Page revised in May 2010.
Ponte Salaro (Book 5) (Environs of Rome)
Ponte Salaro was named after Via Salaria, the road through which the inland regions north of Rome (such as Sabina) received the salt they needed for food preservation and cheese production. Ponte Salaro crossed
the Aniene near the point where this river flows into the Tiber; many foreign painters of the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries depicted it in their Italianate landscapes, small oil paintings which they sold in their countries of origin; similar to them Giuseppe Vasi in this plate gave more relevance to the landscape than to the bridge; for a very different approach you may wish to see an etching by Giovanni Battista Piranesi (external link) drawn at approximately the same time.
Ponte Salaro has been damaged and rebuilt several times since Vasi's etching; today's view would hardly be considered by a painter for inclusion in a landscape; only the tower above the tavern is still there and its tip is visible from the current bridge.
The ancient Roman bridge was damaged during the Greek-Gothic War and it was repaired by Narses, a Byzantine general, who celebrated the event by placing two long inscriptions at its centre. In 1799 the Neapolitans cut the bridge and the inscriptions fell into the Aniene. The tower on the bridge was most likely built in the VIIIth century and it was almost entirely rebuilt by Pope Nicholas V, who did the same at Ponte Nomentano; in 1840, as shown in the painting by Friedrich Horner, it did not exist any longer. In 1867 Garibaldi made an attempt to conquer Rome from the north with the help of an internal revolt. The French troops who defended Rome, mined the bridge in order to check his advance and eventually defeated Garibaldi near Mentana.
The current bridge was built in 1870 and enlarged in 1930; a second bridge parallel to it was built after WWII to cope with the high volume of traffic caused by the urban development of Rome beyond the Aniene.
The ancient Roman tomb at the base of the tower was popularly known as Sepolcro di Mario, a reference to Marius, the leader of a faction during the First Roman Civil War and whose body is said to have been exhumed and thrown into the Tiber four years after his death.
A Walk to Via Flaminia
The initial part of this walk makes use of a very congested road which leads to a bridge across the Tiber; on the other side of the river, a cycling track offers the opportunity for visiting an area where many sport facilities are located.
Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page:
Next plate in Book 5: Fonte dell'Acqua Acetosa
Next step in your tour of the Environs of Rome: Ponte Nomentano