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Italy: Ponte Sant'Angelo

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Ponte Sant'Angelo | Italy | Europe

[Visited: January 2012 and several times before]

It was a very short visit to Rome, and among the many possible choices for sights to see in the eternal city, I decided to go to the Ponte Sant'Angelo. Fortunately, I had taken gloves: it turned out to be pretty cold. When I entered the Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II bridge, the Ponte Sant'Angelo was right there, below me, towards the east. Daylight had just started to appear; the lanterns on the bridge were still lit and reflected in the calm waters of the Tiber. After crossing the bridge, I descended to the banks of the river, and approached the Ponte Sant'Angelo walking the quiet Tiber bank. Once at river level, the Pont Sant'Angelo was right ahead of me, and from this angle, looked much more impressive than before.

Picture of Ponte Sant'Angelo (Italy): The Castel Sant'Angelo towering above the Ponte Sant'Angelo

The five arches of the bridge were beautifully reflected in the still waters of the Tiber river, and the closer I got, the more I could grasp the details of the elegant bridge. Adorned by statues on both sides of the bridge, the Ponte Sant'Angelo seemed to lead directly in the circular building looming over the northern bank of the Tiber: the Castel Sant'Angelo. I walked right under the bridge, and continued walking, frequently looking back to soak in the view of the old bridge. Added to the scene was the enormous dome of the St. Peter in the background, and the subtle early morning light made the scenery almost mysterious. Under the next bridge, I found a lone vagabond sleeping under a carton, with a make shift bathroom with mirror right on the wall. I turned around, closing in on the bridge, and when I reached the stairs, I walked up to finally be able to walk the bridge.

Picture of Ponte Sant'Angelo (Italy): Statues lined up on the Ponte San't Angelo

Right in front of the Ponte Sant'Angelo I had crossed already many times before, I realized for the first time that this really is a remarkable work of art. Two lines of statues line both sides of the bridge, mostly depicting angels, but also statues of Saint Peter and Paul. The history of the bridge goes back to Hadrian's time, who had it constructed to connect the city with his own mausoleum, which was built on the exact spot of the present Castel Sant'Angelo; its name was Hadrian's bridge. Often used by pilgrims to reach St. Peter's Basilica, it was renamed to the Ponte Sant'Angelo in the 7th century, after a legend according to which an angel had predicted the end of the plague on top of the castle. The bridge was also in the Middle Ages to

Picture of Ponte Sant'Angelo (Italy): Reflection of the arches of the Ponte Sant'Angelo in the Tiber river
Picture of Ponte Sant'Angelo (Italy): The dome of the St. Peter towering above the Ponte Sant'Angelo in the early morning
Picture of Ponte Sant'Angelo (Italy): Ponte Sant'Angelo with statues and Castel Sant'Angelo in the background
Picture of Ponte Sant'Angelo (Italy): Statue of the Ponte Sant'Angelo under a cloudy morning sky
Picture of Ponte Sant'Angelo (Italy): Ponte Sant'Angelo arches reflected in the Tiber river on an early winter morning
Picture of Ponte Sant'Angelo (Italy): Sun rising above a statue on the Ponte Sant'Angelo
Picture of Ponte Sant'Angelo (Italy): The Ponte Sant'Angelo seen from the Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II bridge
Picture of Ponte Sant'Angelo (Italy): Statues lining the Ponte Sant'Angelo, looking south, towards the city centre
Picture of Ponte Sant'Angelo (Italy): Detail of marble on the Ponte Sant'Angelo
Picture of Ponte Sant'Angelo (Italy): Detail of statue of St. Paul on the Ponte Sant'Angelo
Picture of Ponte Sant'Angelo (Italy): Statue of angel carrying a cross on the Ponte Sant'Angelo
Picture of Ponte Sant'Angelo (Italy): Statue of female angel on the Ponte Sant'Angelo
Picture of Ponte Sant'Angelo (Italy): Statue carrying a cross on the Ponte Sant'Angelo

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