Close your eyes and still hear the sound of the steps on the pavement of the Roman caligas and the boots of the retreating Nazis …..
It was June 552 when General Byzantino Narsete, directed to Rome from Aquileia, arrived in Rimini, where General Goto named Usdrila, commander of the Gota garrison of “Ariminium”, to block the pass, destroyed the only bridge that crossed the Marecchia. The latter was not completely demolished, even if it took more than a thousand years for its restoration.
And it was September 20, 1944 when Marshal Trageser, in charge of the German rebuilding and the demolition of every route of passage for the Allies, decided to save the arch and then also the bridge, after the partial detonation of the mines, saving it up to us.
The Tiberius Bridge is just a few steps from Piazza Cavour. Located on the river Marecchia at the end of Corso D’Augusto, one of the main streets of the historic center of Rimini, it connects the latter with Borgo San Giuliano.
In reality, it was neither designed nor conceived by Tiberius, who however gave it its name. Although it is called “Tiberius’s”, in fact, the bridge was designed and started by its predecessor Augustus, the same one to whom the Arch is named. Its construction began in 14 AD under the rule of Augustus, while the work was completed in 21 AD, under the rule of Tiberius. The bridge was built not only to cross the river Marecchia, but also to pay homage to the emperors, as suggested by the inscription and its architectural design.
An imposing work of Roman architecture made of Istrian stone, with five arches, in Doric style, it represents one of the most remarkable surviving Roman bridges; an important document of the technical wisdom of the Romans is testified by the foundations of the individual pylons that are not separated from each other but extend to the base and rest on a functional system of wooden poles, so as to ensure the most complete stability. The pylons are also equipped with breakwater spurs, oblique with respect to the road axis to mitigate the impact of the current, following its course.
The bridge marks the beginning of the consular roads, Emilia and Popilia, directed to the north and is located at the end of the main historical street of the city (Corso d’Augusto).
The via Emilia, traced out in 187 BC by the consul Emilio Lepido, connected Rimini to Piacenza; via Popilia, on the other hand, led to Ravenna and continued as far as Aquileia.
Legend has it that this bridge was created by the devil, due to the presence of two notches resembling the imprint of goat’s feet, on the balustrade on the side of the mountain. More likely, however, they could have been hollows for fixing pulleys used to hoist material from boats that arrived under the bridge.
It is one of the oldest Roman monuments of the Riviera, survived over the centuries to several events that have risked destroying it: from floods of the river to war attacks, from earthquakes to the attempt to destroy by the Germans in retreat during World War II.
Since 1885 the Tiberius Bridge has become a national monument and is now on the coat of arms of the city of Rimini.
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