• The Pons Fabricius is the oldest surviving Roman bridge in Rome, dating back to 62 BC. It is still in use today, making it a rare example of an ancient bridge that has remained intact for over 2,000 years.
  • The bridge replaced an earlier wooden bridge that had been destroyed in a fire. It was commissioned by Lucius Fabricius, as seen in the inscriptions on the bridge.
  • Tiber Island, connected to the mainland by the Pons Fabricius, is the only river island on the Tiber River in Rome. It has a rich history and is home to ancient Roman temples and shrines, including the Temple of Asclepius.

The Pons Fabricius or Fabrician Bridge may not be the oldest bridge in Rome, but it is regarded as the oldest Roman bridge still standing in its original form. The Pons Fabricius is one of the great attractions in Rome and one of the many free ancient Roman attractions to see today.

The longest Roman bridge ever built is believed to have been the Trajan Bridge that crossed the Danube between Serbia and Romania while the longest Roman bridge still standing today is the Roman Bridge (Puente Romano) of Merida, Spain.

History Of The Pons Fabricius The Oldest Intact Bridge Of Rome

Pons Fabricius in Rome
Photo by Vito Giaccari on Pexels
Pons Fabricius in Rome

The Pons Fabricius is the oldest Roman bridge in Rome still standing in its mostly original and unaltered state. The Pons Fabricius spans half of the Tiber River (on which Rome was built) going to the Tiber Island from Campus Martius. It is located just next to the ancient Roman Forum (once the beating heart of Rome).

  • Built: 62 BC

The Pons Fabricius was built in 62 BC during the late Roman Republic in the period of the rise of Julius Caesar just before he formed the First Triumvirate with Crassus and Pompey in 60 BC.

Incredibly, the bridge has been in continuous use ever since it was built. It is very difficult to find another ancient bridge in use that has survived mostly unaltered for over 2,000 years.

The Pons Fabricius replaced an older wooden bridge that had been destroyed in a fire. That older wooden bridge had stood since 192 BC. The current stone bridge was commissioned by Lucius Fabricius according to inscriptions on the bridge.

  • Length: 62 meters or 203 feet
  • Width: 5.5 meters or 18 feet

The bridge has two wide arches that are supported by a central pillar in the middle of the river. The two marble pillars of the two-faced Janus herms found on the parapet were placed there in the 14th century and were originally on the nearby Church of St Gregory.

Related: This Is Ancient Rome's Largest Temple (And Yes, It's Impressive)

The Ancient Inscriptions On The Pons Fabricius

The famous Tiber Island and Pons Fabricius
The famous Tiber Island and Pons Fabricius

Like many ancient Roman monuments, the Pons Fabricius still has its original inscription and it can be read today. The inscription records the builder of the ancient bridge and reads "L . FABRICIVS . C . F . CVR . VIAR | FACIVNDVM . COERAVIT | IDEMQVE | PROBAVIT - the English translation would be "Lucius Fabricius, son of Gaius, superintendent of the roads, took care and likewise approved that it be built."

That inscription is found four times on the bridge, one on each side of each arch. There is a later inscription on the bridge stating that Pope Innocent XI restored the bridge (perhaps in 1679). It had also been restored in 1447 by Pope Eugene IV.

The Ancient Roman Cestian Bridge Also On The Tiber Island

The ancient Roman bridge leading from the other side of the Tiber Island is the Pons Cestius. The Pons Cestius (or Cestian Bridge) is another ancient Roman bridge — but it was built much later than the Pons Fabricius during the Late Antiquity period.

Ancient Roman Fabricio Bridge (Ponte Fabricio)
Ancient Roman Fabricio Bridge (Ponte Fabricio)
  • Built: Late Antiquity
  • State: Open To The Public But Extensively Rebuilt

The Pons Cestius is also not in its original form; it was completely rebuilt in the 19th century and today no more than a third of the stone in the modern bridge dates from the ancient Roman bridge.

Related: Explore The Appian Way: Rome's Oldest & Most Important Road

Visiting The Pons Fabricius And The Tiber Island

The Pons Fabricius is one of the top ancient Roman attractions in Rome still in use today (take the time to also visit Rome's Pantheon, the oldest building in continuous use today).

  • Status: Open to the Public
  • Opening Hours: Not Applicable
  • Admission Fee: Free

Tiber Island is the only river island on the Tiber River in Rome. The island is around 890 feet long and 220 feet wide and was the site of a number of ancient Roman temples and shrines in ancient times. It was the site of the ancient temple of Asclepius and the later 10th-century church of San Bartolomeo all-Isola.

The ancient Roman temple is now underneath the church of San Bartolomeo.

The Pons Fabricius at dusk
The Pons Fabricius at dusk

According to legend, the Tiber Island was formed when the angry Romans threw the wheat and grain into the river that belonged to the overthrown and hated tyrant Lucius Tarquinius Superbus.

The main ancient Roman attractions of Tiber Island are the ancient bridges that connect it to the mainland. These bridges (and particularly the Pons Fabricius) are some of the most remarkable Roman ruins in Rome to have on a bucket list. That being said, the continuous use and excellent state of repair of the Pons Fabricius means it is not actually a Roman ruin at all.