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PHOTO: Masterfully Built Tiberius Bridge in Rimini, Italy
Construction on Il Ponte di Tiberio (Tiberius Bridge) in Rimini, Italy, was begun in A.D. 14, when Augustus was the Roman Emperor. It was completed in A.D. 21, during the reign of Tiberius, and it is for him that the bridge was named. Established by the Romans in 268 B.C., Rimini sat at the junction of major roads that connected northern and southern Italy. Additionally, its location at the confluence of the Marecchia River and Adriatic Sea facilitated river and sea trade. As an important city, Rimini received more than its fair share of prestigious monuments. A 12,000-seat Amphitheater still stands, as do the stately Augustus Arch and Montanara Gate, which were entrances to the city’s Roman Forum.
Most impressive, however, is the Tiberius Bridge. Julius Caesar crossed the Marecchia River on it and entered Rimini on his way to sack Rome. Built with white Istrian marble that still carries the original inscriptions honoring both Augustus and Tiberius, the bridge was massive for its day. The marble columns, pierced by five arches, were designed to withstand severe currents and flooding. Even a war couldn’t bring it down it was the only bridge over the Marecchia River not destroyed by the retreating German army during the Battle of Rimini. Still today it is open to both pedestrian and motorized traffic.
The true story of the Ponte di Tiberio in Rimini
You cannot certainly say that Romans were unprepared when they erected their walls. More than 2,000 years passed since their domain, but many visible traces of their building works are visible over Europe, being testimonies to a longevity and technical accuracy that are definitely hard to find in the present great contemporary works.
According to a list edited twenty years ago (1995) by archaeologist Vittorio Galliazzo, the Roman bridges counted are about 900, spread in all the provinces that once constituted the Roman Empire. It is a great number indeed, especially if you think about how much time has passed since their construction.
The Bridge of Tiberius (in Italian Ponte di Tiberio)
Bridges to aggregate, bridges to celebrate, but most of all, bridges to establish a connection between the men and their gods. Maybe the last example is slightly too exaggerated, especially if seen through our contemporary eyes, but you should know that, in the Roman times, the art of constructing bridges was something extremely sacred, to the point that the construction was entrusted to the most important minister of society, the Pontifex Maximus.
Rimini is one of the cities that records the Roman traces. Among them is an example of a perfectly balanced mix of functionality and spiritual exaltation: it is the Bridge of Augustus and Tiberius, commonly known as the Bridge of Tiberius, whose first stone was laid down during Augustus reign.
It was 14 A.D. and the colony of Rimini needed after the Civil Wars a public general reconstruction of the infrastructures of its residential area. The works continued on and off, ending only seven years later, in 21 A.D. during Tiberius rule.
Rimini became, in this way, a central crossroad in the road system of the Roman Italy. The new bridge did not just mark the beginning of the Via Æmilia headed to the heart of Northern Italy, to Bologna and Piacenza, but it was also the start of Via Popilia headed to Ravenna and Adria. In addition, also Via Flaminia towards Rome and the street that leads to Arezzo across the Apennines touched the city of Rimini.
Entirely made of Istrian stone, the Bridge of Tiberius represents one of the most impressive Roman bridges still standing. Laying on the old course of the river Marecchia, it was certainly built to replace an earlier bridge.
In a Doric style, with no less than five arches, the line of the bridge is slightly curved (also said “donkey back”). At the very beginning, it must not have been longer than the current 74 mt. Paved with the traditional trachybasalt cobblestones, it was 4.08 mt large and sided by a 30 cm high and 60 cm wide pedestrian walkway that can be traversed still today.
Ponte di Tiberio (Rimini) – Dedicatory Inscription | Ph. © riminiturismo
It is a symbol of the technical and engineering skills of the Romans, in which the arches lean against massive pillars immersed in the water and supported by a system of isolated wooden poles, while a series of breakwater-buttresses positioned aslant the axis of the bridge reduce the force of impact of the flowing river.
Even though the figurative part is not very complex, the construction features symbols and images of power that recall the important sacred role the emperor played in connecting men and gods: little stylised temples, a little jug for ablutions, a collection plate, the curved rod of religious ministers and magistrates (lituus), and again, a big shield and a crown made of oakwood.
Together with the Arch of Augustus, the bridge is one of the fundamental symbols of the imperial power in Rimini, in which the inhabitants recognized themselves and the value of their ruler, and, as a consequence, embraced his politics.
Over the centuries, these two road infrastructures changed into real emblems of the identity of Rimini, starting to appear even in the public seals and coat of arms during the Middle Ages. The Renaissance turned them into a real case study for architects and engineers, becoming the main inspiration for landscape artists and painters.
It escaped earthquakes and the destruction from several wars, and a mention goes to the earthquakes in 1672 and 1786, a failed destruction in June 552 a.D. during the Greek-Gothic war, an attempted fire by Pandolfo Malatesta in 1528 and a certain demolition that was avoided at the end of the Second World War. Despite of everything, the Bridge of Tiberius is still standing and has become an inevitable stop for anyone that has to reach the city centre from the lively fishers district of San Giuliano.
Ponte di Tiberio (Rimini) | Ph. © Sailko, Wiki Loves Monumentes 2013
From the new “Piazza Sull’Acqua” that overlooks the reservoir of the old river Marecchia, the Bridge of Tiberius, stands immobile and steady, showing the city all its beauty.
Nearby, the Archaeological Park “Le pietre raccontano” offers the chance to discover the long history of the bridge with a long walk on foot just an inch from the water that will leave you breathless.
Curiosity of Rimini. Stories and legends of a millennial bridge
Started by the Emperor Augustus in the 14th century, it was completed by his adoptive son Tiberius in 21 A.C. From its latest builder, this admirable example of Roman technique, took its name and was covered with the legend that today it still accompanies its millennial stones.
It took seven years for Tiberius to complete the construction of the Ariminum Bridge, begun by his father. The work went by slowly due to accidents and newly built parts collapsing. It seemed to be a work destined to not see the light, and to undermine the emperor’s glory. So Tiberius, after praying in vain to all gods played his last card and interrogated the only supernatural being who could give a hand: the devil. And as the legend is told it seems that he really did.
Tiberius called on him to come and help him. And he did so: he would build the bridge, but in return he would take the soul of the first who crossed it. The emperor accepted, and the devil started to work. The construction of the bridge was completed in one night and was solid and impressive. It was the moment of the inauguration and the official procession was ready for the parade, when the emperor remembered that he had to get rid of the covenant with the devil. Tiberius ordered that, before everyone else, a dog had to pass on the new bridge. So it was, and the devil, who was waiting for his soul on the other side of the bridge, was surprised.
Shocked with anger,he decided to take revenge instantly, and destroy the bridge. He kicked the stone several times, but in vain, it was built too well, it was indestructible. So he had to go, but to testify of this episode, there are the remains of goats’ imprints on one of the big stones on the side that overlooks the city. It remained standing for almost twenty centuries, leaving it unscathed from the wars, enduring urban traffic, makes one wonder if it really is the work of the devil!
The Devil’s Stone
There is another legend, or rather another version of the legend, in regards to the famous Tiberius Bridge. Here is what has been passed down. Before operating on this exceptional achievement to be finished, the Emperor Tiberius addressed the Father of the Gods in this way: “Lord,where can I find the material suitable for this construction? his God replied: “At the Mount of Perticara you will find fine sandstone and in abundance”.
The Emperor asked how he could bring it back to Rimini. Herecomes the devil’s intervention. “Only the Devil can help you with this taskand I will pass on the word.” This is the proposal: “Spirit of the darkness, the people of Romagna are building a bridge over the Marecchia and theyneed you to transport the stones from Perticara to here. If you help I will give the first soul that cross the bridge.”
The evil accepted the task and immediately began to work. The works were completed soon. Now it was God’s turn to keep his word, but he first sent a dog across the bridge. The devil, disappointed and angry, refused to carry the last cargo. So at Mount Perticara there was still one boulder left, destined for the Tiberius Bridgein Rimini, and so the “The Devil’s Stone” “Sasso del Diavolo’ was born.
Rimini: The Other Side Of Italy
A few weeks ago I was invited by Emilia Romagna Tourism Board to participate on their BlogVille project. What is BlogVille, you might ask? Basically it is a bunch of bloggers living together &ndashin Rimini in this case&ndash and exploring the region with a more local perspective.
I&rsquove gone backpacking in Italy a few times by now, but never I thought I&rsquod set foot in Rimini, until now.
By the time I got to Rimini, I had already spent some time in Italy. I had visited the uber famous cities of Rome, Florence, Venice, and Milan. So, what about Rimini?
Quite honestly, I had not heard about Rimini before I got to know about the BlogVille project, so to me this city was a complete new Italian experience.
But, was it an &ldquoItalian experience&rdquo?
As soon as I arrived in Rimini the only essence I had of Italy was just the Italian language. As I walked down the main street, it literally felt like I was walking down Fort Lauderdale or Ocean Drive in Miami Beach.
Rimini felt purely like a beach town. I admit that I loved the vibe. But wait!, was I still in Italy? This is not the Italy I know, that I&rsquove studied in countless history books, and that I&rsquove read so much on other travel blogs. Well, it is a new Italy for me, and a very cool and vibrant Italy indeed.
Like I mentioned, aside from the Italian language (oh, and the piadinas, gelatos, and granitas that I later discovered are so popular in Rimini), this town presented a different side of Italian tourism. In fact, the beach front side of Rimini is a sunbather&rsquos haven.
Colored umbrellas grid the entire beach as far as your eyes can see and little cafes and shops keep the waterfront active all day long.
What took me a few days to realize was that there is indeed an &ldquoItalian experience&rdquo in Rimini. This is one of those cities that doesn&rsquot necessarily scream &ldquotraditional Italy&rdquo, but once you go deep, you&rsquoll find a lot of Italian tradition and the essence of what makes Rimini so unique.
Hidden behind all this beach glory, there is actually a bit of the traditional Italy. Yes! There is an old town. While it does not compare with Rome or Florence, architecturally wise, the old town in Rimini offers a broad look to history in a condensed space.
In fact, the old town does not look that old today, since it was the second most destroyed city in Italy after Montecassino, but it still conserves a few historical pieces that date the city well back to the medieval times and even farther back to the Roman times.
I promise I&rsquoll go into more detail on the architecture not to miss in the old town in a following post, but one thing I want to mention now is that the Tiberius Bridge cannot be missed.
This one was by far my favorite architectural piece in Rimini and one that speaks loudly about the engineering capacity of the Romans. It is one of the oldest bridges in all Italy. It was started by Caesar Augustus in 14AD and finished by Tiberius in 21AD. This is pure Roman architecture still in action!
On the opposite side of the old town there is the Augustus Arch, which is the oldest triumphal arch still surviving in northern Italy. It was built in 220BC to mark the entrance to Rimini from the Flaminian Way that linked Rimini with Rome.
These two historical pieces, as well as many others in Rimini, might go unnoticed between the high-pitched fanfare that famous structures in Rome and other major cities have. But certainly, these little pieces are important in the puzzling of the whole Roman history.
I can&rsquot finish talking about Rimini without mentioning one of the best things you have to do there. Watch the sunrise!
Following the BlogVille tradition, my very first night in the apartment was an all-nighter with my roomies Erin of Our Tasty Travels and Emma of Emma&rsquos Travel Tales. In the end, we watched the sunrise while making jokes along the beach.
The sunrise&hellip a beautiful experience that cannot be missed. This is part of the essence of Rimini.
The most famous seaside resort on the Adriatic Riviera is situated in the southern strip of Romagna between the Adriatic Sea and the gentle hills of the Apennine mountains where, just 20 Km away, the Republic of San Marino is located on Mount Titano.
Why visit it
For more than 160 years Rimini has been in the memories and dreams of generations of vacationers. The secret of its success is the friendliness and hospitality of its inhabitants and a territory that offers 15 kilometres of beach, 230 colourful bathing establishments, 1200 hotels and many theme and amusement parks, but also 2000 years of history and a real treasure of art.
Here the sea is a way of life, the scenery for Fellini’s films, the legend of summer entertainment which is renewed every day and the magic of the beach in wintertime. But first of all, Rimini was a coveted and contended city, the capital of the Malatesta Seigniors, a crossway of cultures of which you can still can find prestigious evidence.
The artistic itinerary includes unique masterpieces from the Roman to the Renaissance period. A place to be discovered by following the impressive and indicative remnants left in the 20 centuries of history such as Augustus's Arch, Tiberius Bridge, Sismondo Castle, the Malatesta Temple, the Roman Tre Martiri square or the medieval Cavour square, ending with the City Museum which houses treasures from the past, around 1500 masterpieces, and the archaeological site ‘Domus del Chirurgo’ (the surgeon’s house) with one of the richest collections of surgical and pharmaceutical equipment from ancient times.
Taking a barefoot walk along the seashore having a chat, or meditating, is certainly exciting every day of the year, either during the summer when the beach is excellently organized or in the solitary atmosphere of winter time.
Rimini is a hotbed of new trends: street bars, happy hour, aperitif on the beach, dinner on the seashore, new sport activities such as nordic walking on the beach spring up here and become a fashion. Entertainment is for all tastes and all ages.
For all those who want to combine a holiday with well-being, on the public beach in Miramare is RiminiTerme, a modern spa for the wellness of body and mind.
Rimini is also a city for conventions and a venue for big events. The new Exhibition Centre RiminiFiera, which is considered one of the most modern in Europe, was inaugurated in 2001 and a new Conference Centre, Palacongressi, has recently opened to the public, expressing the know-how, excellence, and the high level market Rimini has achieved.
Whether you sleep in a tent or in a suite at the Grand Hotel beloved by Fellini, Rimini is absolutely a great place to stay.
Room with a view
If it is well known that Federico Fellini had his personal suite at the Grand Hotel in Rimini, together with that of his wife Giulietta Masina, maybe not everyone knows that in the room No. 302 in the Hotel Villa Adriatica, Gabriele D’Annunzio met Eleonora Duse, an event which all the newspapers of the time wrote about. Perhaps people don’t even know that George Clooney slept in the Hotel Gradisca some years ago, during an unexpected stop in Rimini while he was travelling Italy by motorcycle with his friends.
Do not miss
Don’t miss taking a walk in Marina di Rimini, one of the most beautiful and modern tourist harbours in the Mediterranean with a fascinating and romantic overhead walkway, 1300 meters long, that overlooks the sea.
To discover the life and the traditions of sailors and fishermen, you can participate in the guided tour “Esplorando il Porto Canale” or take a walk to the fish market.
On the table
Don’t forget to taste a real piadina riminese. The piadina in Rimini is thin and you can fill it in different ways: with ham and mozzarella, with herbs or even with chocolate.
Among the main typical food products there are also: fresh fish from the Adriatic Sea and Sangiovese red wine. Taking a tour along the Strade dei Vini e dei sapori dei Colli di Rimini is a good way to discover menus and recipes from the past.
Rimini never goes to sleep, because life continues at night time, too. But here fun and entertainment are never excessive.
Entertainment in Rimini begins every evening in several places in the city: in the beach area, Marina Centro near the harbour, where you can find the most trendy venues, along the beach promenade and on the beach.
A lot of wine bars, pubs and small restaurants are also in the historic centre, especially in the area of the Vecchia Pescheria and piazza Cavour, a meeting point throughout the whole year.
From trendy and typical beach sports, such as beach volleyball and beach tennis, to the new sports activities like &ldquospeedminton&rdquo and &ldquonordic walking on the beach&rdquo, in Rimini you can practice almost any sport. Clubs, associations and federations are more and more often choosing the city as the place for their events, conferences, competitions, meetings, championships or as a venue for launching the latest trends.
The Rimini Riviera is an explosion of events during the whole year: performances, theatre, film festivals, art exhibitions, sport competitions, cultural meetings, all kinds of festivals and gatherings, and in addition, the traditional open markets.
Summer in Rimini begins with Gradisca, the traditional party on the beach, which is followed by La Notte Rosa, held every year in July and celebrating the “Italian Summer New Year’s Eve”. Not to be missed is the real new year’s, on December 31st, a celebration that has become a “must” for all the Italians waiting for the new year.
Information and useful advice
If you want to visit the historic centre of Rimini, you may find an unexpected town, just ask for information at the City Museum. You will be informed about all the initiatives dedicated to both adults and children, to individuals or groups in every time of the year.
On Tuesdays in summer “Passeggiando nel passato” is held, a guided tour to the main monuments of Rimini and of the City Museum’s halls. Many initiatives are offered to discover the archaeological site the “Surgeon’s House”.
A few kilometres from the sea you can find the fascinating hinterland with the green valleys along the rivers Marecchia and Conca, a land that in the past was under the dominion of the Malatesta family. A landscape where you can discover fortresses and castles, ancient traditions and unique tastes and flavours.
These castles are reproduced in the amusing water games offered in the theme park Italia in miniatura, Italy in miniature, where more than 272 perfect reproductions of Italian venues are on display here you can even navigate on the channels of a realistic reproduction of Venice.
Rimini Riviera has the highest number of theme parks in Europe: from Ravenna to Cattolica there are eighteen of them. Among the most famous ones there are Fibilandia (for small children), Oltremare, Mirabilandia and Aquafan.
Tiberius Bridge, Rimini - History
Nikon F4. AF Nikkor 50mm F1.4D lens. Fujifilm C200 35mm C41 film.
Il Ponte di Tiberio, was started during the reign of Augustus, as part of his extensive series of public works for Rimini, but takes its name from Tiberius, the Emporor under whose reign the bridge was finished. Built in seven years, between 14 and 28AD.
The Bridge is a remarkable construction, proven by the fact that it remains largely as it was when built by the Romans – despite the ebbs and flows of nature, the numerous wars it has seen, and modern day traffic (the bridge remains in use).
When there was a river, that is, as the modern day bridge sits astride a canal. The river Marecchia originally passed under the bridge, but in the twentieth century was diverted from its ŕf cours to minimise flooding damage.
If engineering prowess doesn’t rock your boat, the bridge is still well worth visiting just to see and admire. The sturdy white stone, with original inscriptions (to Augustus, and Tiberius), easily give the visitor the idea of travelling back in time.
The bridge connects Rimini’s centro storico with the borgo San Giuliano. During the summer months, often, there are concerts and events staged in the canal with the ponte di Tiberio as an impressive backdrop.
Tiberius Bridge, Rimini - History
Rimini - 5 February 2013 - Vittoria Coen
The Bridge of Tiberius is one of the principal symbols of Rimini and is featured on the city’s coat of arms. The bridge was begun during the reign of Augustus in 14 AD and was finished under his successor Tiberius in 21 A.D. This imposing structure in Istrian stone, connected Rimini and the area of modern-day San Giuliano, at the end of the Decumano Massimo (the starting point of via Emilia and the via Popilia Annia). It has five semicircular arches with blind niches between each one. The width of each arch grows progressively with the central arch being the widest. There are breakwaters set obliquely to reduce resistance to the flow of the river. Inscriptions placed along the parapet inform us of the dates of construction – a typical Roman usage, and we can see other Latin inscriptions on the pavement. The shafts are decorated with four rectangular windows surmounted by a tympanum, while above the parapet there are pedestals which were probably used to mount statues. There are also traces of sculptured images but it is difficult to decipher exactly what they are showing however they probably refer to a divinity.
The bridge of Tiberius during a pink night in Rimini
On one of the balustrades there are two objects that look like goats hooves. They were used to hoist goods from boats onto the bridge, however their shape also gave rise to the legend that associates the bridge with the devil. The bridge is a great example of Roman engineering prowess and represents the architectonic and aesthetic grandeur of the imperial era. It is technically efficient but also rich in sacred and political images.
During the war between the Ostrogoths and the Byzantines the bridge risked being destroyed, however thanks to its first-class civil engineering it has remained intact until today, even surviving the bombardments of the Second World War and attempts by the retreating Germans to blow it up.
(ANSAmed) - BOLOGNA, APRIL 8 - The Bridge of Tiberius, the symbolic monument of Rimini together with the Arch of Augustus, this year is turning 2,000 years old.
The bridge has been included in a list of 15 historic bridges to visit worldwide, compiled by Italian daily Corriere della Sera at its "Dove Viaggi" travel website.
The Roman jewel is recognised together with monuments such as Ponte Angelo bridge in Rome, Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence, and the Bridge of Sighs in Venice.
Construction on the Bridge of Tiberius began in 14 A.D. under Octavius Augustus and was completed in the year 21 A.D. under Tiberius.
The bridge will be the focus of the 23rd edition of the "Festival of the Ancient World", which will celebrate the bridge in a series of initiatives starting on July 7, on Wednesday and Friday evenings.
Events will also take place on the weekend of July 24 and 25, including a lectio magistralis master class, live streaming, soundscapes, and digital narratives that will take place in the Piazza sull'Acqua in the reservoir near the bridge.
"The Festival is the natural setting for welcoming this important anniversary, with a series of initiatives and events that, due to the pandemic, will be offered in a new format with various summer events held outdoors in July," said Rimini culture councillor Giampiero Piscaglia.
The Festival will continue in the fall with philosopher Massimo Recalcati and the presentation of a book dedicated to the bridge, marking the end of the celebration.(ANSAmed).
Welcome in Rimini
The Tiberius Bridge of Rimini was built during the ancient Roman Empire. Its construction began in A.D. 14 under the reign of Augustus and ended in 21 AD, during the reign of Tiberius. It was built in Istrian stone as the Augustus Arch with a simple style and at the same time harmonious. The bridge is long m. 62,60 without warheads, partially buried. The width of the bridge is 8.65 m. Its structure is composed of five arches. Tiberius Bridge marks the beginning of the ancient Via Emilia, as well as the Arch of Augustus marks the end of the Roman road Flaminia.
The solidity of the bridge has always aroused great wonder as to create the legend of the “Devil’s Bridge”. According to the legend, it took Tiberius seven years to complete the bridge of Ariminum. It is said, during those years the work proceeded very slowly, because, once finished a new part of the bridge, this collapsed. It seemed a work destined to be never terminated, which undermined the Emperors glory. After prayed without result the Gods, Tiberius revoked the devil, the only supernatural figure remained that could kill the cat: the devil.
Tiberius came to terms with Satan: the devil would build the bridge but in return would take the soul of the first that crossed it. So the bridge was built in overnight: beautiful, solid and imposing, ready to be crossed by the first soul. The emperor, who from the beginning had thought about how to outwit the devil, ordered that a dog should cross as first the bridge. The devil, who was waiting for the soul on the other side of the bridge, realizing the deception, became furious and decided to take revenge by throwing down the bridge. Repeatedly kicked the bridge in wrath, but he soon realized that the bridge was indestructible.
As evidence of this episode, on one of the large stones placed at the beginning of the bridge on the city side remain imprinted some goat footprints.
During the Second World War all the bridges in Rimini were destroyed by the Germans the Tiberius Bridge was saved thanks to the good sense of a German officer who saw no need to sacrifice a so old bridge.