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Ponte Salaro (Book 5) (Environs of Rome)

In this page:
The plate by Giuseppe Vasi
Today's view

The Plate (No. 83)

Ponte Salaro

Via Salaria was (and still is) the road linking Rome with the middle Adriatic Sea. From there Rome received salt (sale in Italian), so Via Salaria means the road of salt. Ponte Salario crossed the Aniene near the point where this river enters the Tiber. Destroyed by the Goth Totila, it was rebuilt by the Byzantinian General Narses. In the description below the plate Vasi made reference to: 1) Tavern; 2) Roman inscriptions; 3) Part of the Roman bridge; 4) Tower built by Narses; 5) Via Salaria towards Rome. The small 1920 map shows the site of Ponte Salaro.

Small ViewSmall View


The view today

In 1867 Garibaldi made an attempt to conquer Rome from the north with the help of an internal revolt.  The French troops destroyed the bridge in order to block this entrance to the city and eventually defeated Garibaldi near Mentana. The current bridge is very high on the level of the river, so that the view has almost nothing in common with Vasi's plate.
On the left of the picture however one can notice that the tower beyond the bridge is still there as a closer look confirms.

The little tower

Ponte Salaro was a preferred subject for XIXth century painters looking for a picturesque scenario. Some painters however did not bother to go to the site and they just elaborated on Vasi's etchings. Friedrich Horner, a Swiss aquarellist, on the contrary went to the spot and his 1840 painting (by courtesy of Mr Johannes Fichter) shows the bridge without the tower and with many buffaloes.

Friedrich Horner

Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page:

Ponte Salaro
Tre miglia fuori della porta Salara si vede il ponte del medesimo nome distrutto da Totila, e poi rifatto da Narsete nell'an. 39. dell'Imperio di Giustiniano, come si legge nella celebre iscrizione postavi dal medesimo.

Next plate in Book 5: Fonte dell'Acqua Acetosa
Next step in your tour of the Environs of Rome: Ponte Nomentano

Go to    or to  Book 5 or to my Home Page on Baroque Rome or to my Home Page on Rome in the footsteps of an XVIIIth century traveller.

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