The Roman bridge that you can admire entering the town of Savignano sul Rubicone, is the result of many restorations. The last one was in 2005. According to popular belief, that was the bridge where Julius Cesar stopped and said the famous statement: “Alea iacta est” and then declared war on Rome. According to its architectural structure and to historic sources, this is not true.
If you read De vita Cesarum by Svetonio (1,31), there is a description of a ponticulum (small bridge), which does not match the bridge of Savignano. It instead matches the usual republican bridges, made of wood and that were replaced by stone during the era of Augustus.
The bridge in Savignano was 26,20 meters long and 6,30 wide. It was built on three arcades, placed over two pillars. It was built in opus quadratum with white stones from Aurisina of different sizes and held together by metal braces. The foundations were as long as the bridge itself and 4 meters wider. According to the essay by Aurigemma in 1937, they were made of squared plates. The shape of the pillars was made in order to break the waves on one side, and to be stable on the other.
The whole structure was made of Aurisina stone and both the street and the parapets were enriched by pink marble from Verona.
There are no images of the bridge in the Roman age because it was destroyed and rebuilt many times during the years.
It underwent the first changes in the second half of the 14th century, when the castle of Savignano was built. The west door of the town and part of the boundaries were on the bridge. The course of the river was changed, so the bridge was partly destroyed. In 1445 Sigismondo Malatesta, lord of Rimini, did something awful: he stole the stones of Verona and Aurisina from the handrails in order to build the Tempio Malatestiano in Rimini.
The second restoration was from 1600. The pillars were covered with bricks in order to protect them from the water flow and that is the reason why they have the present shape. The
were also re-built using bricks.
The worst damages were made by the German army in 1944, when they mined the pillars of the bridge. American allies built the so called Bayley bridge (picture n. 5) made of iron on the old pillars. It lasted 20 years until it was re-built in 1960. All the old rests were collected on a square, listed and then used in order to reconstruct the bridge. All the missing pieces were substituted by castings of cement , and parapets were made of iron(picture 1, 3). In 2005 the last restoration brought the bridge back to its pre-war condition: it was cleaned and the parapets were made of stone.
|The roman bridge|