Rome Travel Guide

Rome Architecture, History, Art, Museums, Galleries, Fashion, Music, Photos, Walking and Hiking Itineraries, Neighborhoods, News and Social Commentary, Politics, Things to Do in Rome and Environs. Over 900 posts

Friday, September 30, 2011

Ponte della Musica: Rome's new Bridge to Nowhere

There's a new bridge in town.  Dianne says it's called the Ponte della Musica (music bridge), and I have no reason to doubt her, or hardly any.  The name makes sense because it was installed to link the new left-bank museum and music area of Flaminio-- consisting primarily of Zaha Hadid's monumental MAXXI (museum) and Renzo Piano's Parco della Musica (music park),  which looks downright humble next to Hadid's enormous concrete construction--with the right bank of the Tevere. 

Ponte della Musica, from the right bank.
We had never seen the bridge, but knew it to be controversial.  Some--not just "experts" but residents of the area--wonder why it was built at all, since it doesn't seem to connect to much of a neighborhood across the Tevere. Yet we found it worked in the Flaminio/Foro Italico itinerary of our new book, Modern Rome: 4 Great Walks for the Curious Traveler.  More on the book at the end of this post.

Looking toward Monte Mario.  The center
surface is asphalt, the sides wooden planks.
Yes, the northern portion of Prati is at the left when one crosses, but straight ahead is the uninhabited rise of Monte Mario, and to the right (north) Olympic Stadium (where the soccer teams play) and an enormous fascist sports complex, built in the 1930s.  On our visit, the bridge appeared to be populated mostly by joggers--who also use the right bank of the Tevere here--whose running range has no doubt been greatly expanded by the structure.  Although the bridge is capable of accepting automobile traffic--not clear how much--at the moment it is open only to pedestrians.

A private athletic club on the Flaminio side.
Looks like it lost a tennis court or two.
Others have criticized the bridge for having wooden walkways (sure to weather poorly, and difficult if not impossible to clean when the graffiti writers land).  It's likely, too, that the private atheletic clubs that populate the banks of the Tevere on this part of the river lost some land in the process or had their luxurious--and, until one could walk out on this bridge, hidden--lairs revealed for the ordinary public to see and envy.

Ship ahoy!  Note the handrails, inspired by the
Queen Mary.
Still, we like this bridge, with its sleek, rolling, boat-like, naval look.  It may be Italy's bridge to nowhere, but it's elegant and sea-worthy, and it's about time something was done for runners.  Perhaps they should call it Ponte delle Joggers.

p.s.  One of our readers was disappointed that we hadn't included information on the bridge's architect/designer.  So...the bridge had its origins in a partnership between Davood Liaghat, who was chief bridge engineer
at the Buro Happold firm, and London architect
Kit Powell-Williams, who was working in Rome with
the engineering firm C. Lottie e Associati.  Buro
Happold won a design competition for the structure in 2000.

You can cross the bridge, and see much more, in the Flaminio/Foro Italico itinerary in our new print AND eBook,  Modern Rome: 4 Great Walks for the Curious Traveler.  Modern Rome features tours of the "garden" suburb of Garbatella; the 20th-century suburb of EUR, designed by the Fascists; the 21st-century music and art center of Flaminio, along with Mussolini's Foro Italico, also the site of the 1960 summer Olympics; and a stairways walk in Trastevere.

This 4-walk book is available in all print and eBook formats The eBook is $1.99 through and all other eBook sellers.  See the various formats at

Modern Rome: 4 Great Walks for the Curious Traveler
 now is also available in print, at, Barnes and Noble, independent bookstores, and other retailers; retail price $5.99.

1 comment:

Marco said...

The proper Italian version of the bridge's nickname should be: "Ponte dei Podisti", not "Ponte delle Joggers" which, in Italian, makes almost no sense.