Only 10 days are left to my 30 day visit to Rome. I have walked miles and miles, meaning hours and hours. I have seen things I remember from my trips here with Camillo, and have seen even more that I didn’t remember that I’d seen but just know that I have walked that street before. Yesterday, I walked twice, once in the morning and once at dusk and full dark.
For the morning walk I decided to walk away from the historic center (centro storico – “Chentro storiko”), along the river to area north of the Center. I have become somewhat saturated with old, old, old buildings and wanted to see more Italians at home in their neighborhoods and less Germans, French and Japanese eating gelato. Okay, I know, and one Gringa Americana eating gelato also. Walking basically west of the apartment then cutting over on a main avenue to the River, following the river north on its curving path, I saw families riding their bikes, skaters, dog walkers (ewww watch were you step) and a few just strolling, ambling like I was. I make the assumption that these are locals but could be Italians visiting from other cities. I base my assumption on having heard only Italian spoken.
Mirella (Camillo’s sister) lives in this northern area so I am pretty familiar. I knew that very close to her apartment is an ancient Roman bridge – yes you can laugh at me here but you need a destination and an exit plan when taking one of these walks into unknown areas without a map.
Once close to my destination, I passed 3 bridges, one after the other that I found interesting. The first, Ponte della Musica, opened in mid of 2011, is a foot bridge linking east and west banks of the Tiber (Tevere). It is such a surprise I walked all the way across and back, enjoying it every minute.
Next: Ponte duca D’Aosta built between 1939 and 1942 – I recognized it right off, it is clearly identifiable as a ‘Mussolini project’. On either end the two main posts depict WWI scenes; no curves or softness, no romance, reminiscent of Roman construction styles: part if ‘the new Rome’ as envisioned by Mussolini.
and finally: Ponte Milvio built originally in 226 BC and torn down and rebuilt in 115 BC. That structure, with several rebuilds and restructurings after the birth of Christ, still stands today. A place of battles and of love stories; a bridge that connects the generations.
Maybe I am too Romantic but imagine walking (not on the same stone because this base is new by a thousand years or so), but imagine walking the way that people traveling to Rome walked since 100 years before Christ. A true testament to life continuing even as governments make grave errors and topple, even as wars are fought and battle are won and lost, life goes on.
Seen from the center of Ponte Milvio – another Mussolini project. Ponte Flamino or Ponte di Mussolini OR Corso Francia as it may be called. Started in 1938 but after Mussolini stopped the construction several times for design changes that himself drew, the war, change in governments and war reconstruction, the bridge was finally finished in 1961. This bridge is also worth walking across just for its neat structure and works of art.