All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
Page revised in March 2010.
Ponte Sisto (Book 5) (Map C3) (Day 6) (View D8) (Rione Trastevere) and (Rione Regola)
In Book V, which covered the monuments along the river and which was published in the first months of 1754, Giuseppe Vasi made use of some copperplates he had engraved in the 1740s for Vedute di Roma sul Tevere, a book covering the same subject, but with views of a smaller size; these early works showed landscapes, rather than focusing on specific monuments.
In the late XIXth century the river bed was enlarged and high walls were built on the banks to prevent floods; the spire of S. Grisogono is still visible while some modern buildings obstruct the view of S. Sabina, but not that of the pine trees which are located on an adjoining terrace.
In 1450 a mule became unruly on Ponte S. Angelo during a crowded Jubilee procession and many people fell into the river. In view of the forthcoming 1475 Jubilee, Pope Sixtus IV built a new bridge to facilitate the access to the Vatican and avoid a repetition of the 1450 accident. The pope wanted the bridge to bear his name (Xystumque suo de nomine appellari voluit); in an inscription he also asked those who crossed the bridge to pray for his health; the inscriptions were written by Bartolomeo Platina, the pope's librarian and the author of Vitae Pontificum, a book on the lives of the popes from St. Peter to 1474; at the end of an inscription Platina wrote a sentence which reminds of the epitaphs on the ancient tombs: Vale quisquis es ubi haec precatus fueris "Farewell (in the literal sense of fare+well) to you, whoever you are, as long as you prayed (for me)". You may wish to see Bartolomeo Platina (on his knees) and Pope Sixtus IV with his nephews in a famous painting by Melozzo da Forlì - external link.
Ponte Sisto in part made use of the remaining piers of ancient Pons Aurelius; their bases had the shape of a boat with the bow facing the stream.
The image used as background for this page shows the coat of arms of Pope Sixtus IV.
Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page:
Next plate in Book 5: Spiaggia detta la Regola
Next step in Day 6 itinerary: Porta Settimiana