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Monumental Bridge


Monumental Bridge


At the beginning of the 19th century, following some economic development, the local government started pushing the Papal State to make the Appian way safer, faster and more accessible. The only possible solution was to build bridges that would cross the Ariccian valley, the two valleys to reach Galloro and finally the ‘Vallone’ to overcome the slope and leave Colle Pardo behind on the way to Genzano.

Therefore, in order to adapt to the difference in altitude, in 1843 Pope Gregorius XVI had a six-arched bridge constructed, which was later replaced by a single-arched embankment. In the meanwhile, a new route of the Appian Way was being planned – equipped with two more bridges, the Saint Roch Bridge and another minor one, in addition to the large bridge to be built over the Ariccian ‘Vallone’. Construction did not stop with the Pope's death in 1846, and was completed by his successor Pius IX, who entrusted the Monumental Bridge project to an architect from Marche, Ireneo Aleandri, while the execution of the work was entrusted to Giuseppe Bertolini.

Work was completed in 1854 and is one of the most important engineering achievements of the 19th century: set on three orders of arches in elegant neoclassical style inspired by Roman art, the bridge is 59 metres high and 312 metres long. Two travertine columns were erected on both ends to recall the Roman milestones of the Appia Antica. Pius IX himself solemnly inaugurated the bridge by opening it to all "wheeled woods".
In 1944, as the German army was retreating, the bridge was blown up to hinder the advance of the allied troops. Two years later, on a project by Carlo Cestelli Guidi and the architectural advice of David Pacanowski, reconstruction work began.
The bridge was reopened to traffic on March 3, 1948. On 18 January 1967, for unknown reasons, the eleventh pylon collapsed; on 27 August of the same year, the tenth pylon followed. Reconstruction of the pylons began in December 1967 and after about a year, the bridge was reopened.

In 1997 the columns were rebuilt partially reusing original materials and ANAS (National Autonomous Roads Corporation) set tensile-structure protective nets up to prevent suicides.

Prepared by

Museo Senza Frontiere, Saverio Capozzi, sulla base di materiale fornito da:
arch. Francesco Petrucci; © Museum With No Frontiers (MWNF).

Ponte Monumentale © Palazzo Chigi Ariccia

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