In the seaside town of Santa Marinella, along the Via Aurelia (Aurelia vetus) you can find the remains of 4 ancient Roman bridges, engineering masterpieces dating back to the 3rd century B.C., which in the past allowed to overcome many other water courses and put the road in connection with Rome and with the seaside Etruria.

Of the 4 bridges, the first, known as Bridge of Apollo, is located at km 59,700: represented by a marble pillar with a Latin inscription, the remains are preserved close to Fosso di Castelsecco, between the via Aurelia and the sea. The second, the Bridge of Largo Impero, is located on the km 60,400 and it was built with fifteen radial ashlars of sandstone, joined with metal cramps. A little further on, at km 62,300 is the Bridge of Vignacce, hardly accessible and consisting of only one arch in sandstone ashlars.

In this article, thanks to the invaluable contribution by Doctor Massimiliano Galletti from the Association Scrinium Arte we tell you the history of the Bridge of Via Roma, which is actually shortly before the Bridge of Vignacce, (at km 60.700) plunged into a nice palm garden. Among the 4 bridges, the last is beyond doubt the best reserved and the only one that can actually be visited.

Bridge of Via Roma in Santa Marinella

Bridge of Via Roma in Santa Marinella

FROMT THE VIA AURELIA TO THE BRIDGE OF VIA ROMA

Most scholars agree to attribute the authorship of the Consular road Aurelia to Gaius Aurelius Cotta, magistrate and console in 252 B.C. . Opened in the III century BC to meet the strategic-military needs and to connect Rome with its colonies of the seaside Etruria, the road was extended along the Tyrrhenian coast, up to Liguria, to reach even the Mediterranean provinces of Gaul and Spain.

At the Small Tourist Port of Santa Marinella, at the height of the km 60.700 of the modern Aurelia, at the junction with Via Roma, you can admire the monumental remains of the only Roman bridge which can be visited in the area, the Bridge of Via Roma, built with the intention to go beyond a ditch that today has been diverted.

Bridge of Via Roma in Santa Marinella seen from one side

Bridge of Via Roma in Santa Marinella seen from one side

The bridge, whichs dates back to the 2nd century B.C., appears today after the latest restoration of the last century (following a partial collapse) as attested by the use of cement mortar useful to consolidate the constructive elements.

A series of large blocks of sandstone, compose a single flat arch, while several blocks in the face view preserve traces of the rustic building, roughly finished in relief.

Also visible are the traces of substructures in concrete that remind of an horizontal plane for the transit of the road, whose width at that point is four meters.

Bridge of Via Roma in Santa Marinella - Particular of the sandstone blocks

Bridge of Via Roma in Santa Marinella - Particular of the sandstone blocks

The Bridge of Via Roma in Santa Marinella

The Bridge of Via Roma in Santa Marinella

A recent requalification work of the monument has made it become even more suggestive thanks to an evocative night illumination, to the reconstruction of a sideways promenade, some terraces and benches.

The Bridge of Via Roma is a real little hidden pearl where between one bath an another you can enjoy some time to relax reevoking the greatness of the Roman Empire!

by Massimiliano Galletti, Association Scrinium Arte.

© Pictures by the author.

Useful information

The Bridge of Via Roma in Santa Marinella

HOW TO GET THERE

By car:

- From Rome: take Aurelia (SS1) toward Civitavecchia/Fiumicino and exit at Torrimpietra to continue along highway (A12) Roma-Civitavecchia. After about 32 Km, exit toward Santa Marinella/Santa Severa and at the junction turn right to S.Marinella. Continue along the Aurelia unitl turning on Viale Roma.
- From Civitavecchia: the Bridge of Via Roma is at km 60.700 of the Aurelia, exactly at the junction with Via Roma. If you arrive by car from Civitavecchia we recommend you to find a parking spot close to the Tourist Port of Santa Marinella and make the most of the opportunity to take a walk and visit both. From the Tourist Port, you will only have to go back a few hundreds of meters along Via Roma and you will come across the remains of the bridge on your left.
 
By train:
- The Stataion of Santa Marinella is connected to most regional train lines. The stop is about 10 minute walk away from the port. From there, you only need to walk for about 5 minutes more along Via Roma. For train timetables, please refer to the official site of Trenitalia. Nota bene: on the website of Trenitalia put as destination S.Marinella.
TIMETABLES

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