Rome is literally infested with fountains. For more than 2000 years, fountains have
provided water and decoration to Roman piazzas. In ancient Rome, there were 39
monumental fountains and 591 public basins, each fed by two different aqueducts
in case one shut down. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Popes began installing
monumental Baroque fountains after reconstructing the Roman aqueducts, and
decorated them with sculptures expressing the new Baroque style. This page
focuses primarily on the Trevi Fountain, the largest and most spectacular
of the Baroque fountains of Rome, but I have also included a few others
encountered during walks around the city, along with several images
of famous bridges, which seemed to fit here as water is involved.

Click an image to open a larger version
Use your back button to return to this page.


Fontana delle Naiadi
Quattro Fontane
Rio de la Plata

Trevi Fountain


Isola Tiberina
Ponte Fabricio
Ponte Cestio
Ponte sant’Angelo (Castel sant’Angelo)
Ponte Sisto and St. Peter’s Dome
Ponte sant’Angelo and St. Peter’s


Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Rome Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

Direct Link to the Gallery with images of Bridges, Fountains and Street Scenes

There are a number of images in this section that are not yet on the Photoshelter site.
If an image you want is not yet uploaded, contact Ron Reznick (info at bottom of page).


There are 18 Galleries in the Photoshelter Rome Collection


Fontana Naiadi Santa Maria degli Angeli 3676
1500 x 1092 (562 KB)

Naiad of the Lakes astride a rather crane-like swan, in front of Santa Maria degli Angeli.

Piazza della Repubblica (formerly Piazza dell’Esedra) occupies the space in the exedra
of the Baths of Diocletian. Built within the frigidarium of the ancient baths is the church of
Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri (in the background), which uses an apse of the
ancient baths as its facade. In the center of the Piazza is the Fontana delle Naiadi,
built in 1870 as the terminal fountain of Aqua Pia, an extension of the restored
aqueduct Aqua Marcia (broken since the 6th century Goths destroyed it).
The original fountain with lions was not successful, and in 1900 it was
replaced with Mario Rutelli’s Fountain of the Naiads. This fountain
caused a sensation due to the somewhat sensual nature of
the poses of the Naiads, but the city resisted the puritan
conservatives who demanded removal of the statues.


Quattro Fontane Goddess Juno 6397
795 x 1290 (552 KB)

The Goddess Juno representing an allegory of Fortitude.

In the 1580s, Pope Sixtus V embarked on a program of civic modifications. At the corner of two new straight streets he had built between Trinita dei Monti at the top of the Spanish Steps to Santa Maria Maggiore, and from Porta Pia to Palazzo del Quirinale, he had Domenico Fontana create three of the four travertine fountains (Pietro da Cortona created the Diana).


Quattro Fontane River Tiber 6392
795 x 1290 (483 KB)

The fountain representing the Tiber River, with she-wolf.
The Tiber holds a cornucopia full of fruit on his left arm.

The four fountains all present their subjects reclining within a niche... these two are shown in front of travertine trees and foliage. The blocks of travertine for the fountains came from the Septizonium of Septimius Severus below the Palatine Hill, which was demolished by Sixtus V for the materials.


Rio de la Plata Fontana Navona 7880
795 x 1290 (347 KB)

‘Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi’ in Piazza Navona, designed and built by GianLorenzo Bernini 1651. This is an absolute masterpiece, and the dramatic effect (especially at night) is high. Bernini was not even considered for the competition for this design as his competition had ‘poisoned the mind of’ the
Pope against him, but he was convinced to create a model by Prince Ludovisi, whose wife was the Pope’s niece, and he arranged for it to be snuck into the Palazzo and installed in a room the Pope had to pass on his way from dinner.


Rio de la Plata Fontana Navona 7888
795 x 1290 (220 KB)

The Pope saw the model after dinner, and offered the design to Bernini. The work was hidden from the public (as a festival was planned for the unveiling). Reports say the people were overwhelmed when it was unveiled.

Paraphrased from Baldinucci’s “Life of Cavaliere Bernini”

The Agonalis Obelisk was made in Egypt (hieroglyphs were  cut in Rome) by order of Domitian for the Temple of Serapis.


Rio de la Plata Fontana Navona 7877
1500 x 1092 (388 KB)

The sculpture of the Rio de la Plata was created by Bernini’s pupil Francesco Barrata.
In the background right is the statue representing the Danube, by Antonio Raggi il Lombardo.
Rio de la Plata seems to be worried that the obelisk will come crashing down on his head.
He sits on a bag of silver coins (Plata = silver) representing the wealth of the Americas.

Innocent X had the fountain built during the famine of 1646-48, and people protested,
using the Pasquinade to write messages saying “We don’t want obelisks and fountains...
We want bread, Bread, BREAD!” Innocent X had the authors arrested to avoid controversy.

These three night shots were rather challenging, as all handheld night shots are.
The one above, for instance, was 0.77 sec., the other two were 1/3 and 1/8 sec.
That is a long time to hold a camera still by hand and get a clean shot. Tricky.
I was using a 45mm lens for the one above and the first one, which makes
long exposure shots even more difficult than doing it with a 28mm lens.

Trevi Fountain


Trevi Fountain 6414 M
1650 x 1110 (809 KB)

— I am providing this image with no watermark —
(The image is supplied for your personal use only)

The terminal point of the Aqua Virgo aqueduct built by Marcus Agrippa (19 BC)
(the builder of the original Pantheon in 27 BC) to supply the baths named after him,
 Fontana di Trevi replaced the simple basin designed by Leon Battista Alberti for
the Renaissance Pope Nicholas V in 1453 when he repaired the Aqua Virgo
(which had been broken by the Goths in 537 when they besieged Rome).
According to a 1st century legend, the Aqua Virgo was created after
a virgin (Trivia) led a band of thirsty soldiers from Agrippa’s army
to a spring, which became the source of the aqueduct. This was
the spring of Salone ten miles east of the city, which became
the source of the most important of the eleven aqueducts
which fed the thirsty fountains and population of Rome.
The aqueduct ran almost completely underground,
which kept it from being vandalized (literally, as
the Vandals did sack Rome in 455, but they
did not interrupt its flow of water to Rome).


Trevi Fountain 6419
795 x 1290 (453 KB)

The Aqua Virgo (Virgin Aqueduct) is the oldest still operating in Rome, and even though it was damaged by the Goths it never stopped bringing water into Rome (it is the only ancient aqueduct which has continually functioned since the time of Augustus). It was repaired several times in the Middle Ages, although these repairs only restored flow from nearby sources.


Trevi Fountain 6412
795 x 1290 (452 KB)

In 1410, a set of three basins were constructed to catch the water which flowed from three mouths (the fountain of Trei, most likely the origin of the name Trevi). This was replaced in 1453 by one large basin designed by Leon Battista Alberti after Pope Nicholas V restored the aqueduct. In 1570, Pope Pius V restored the original sources of water to the aqueduct.


Trevi Fountain 6417
1500 x 1092 (662 KB)

The 6400-series images were taken very early one morning, before the sun had hit the fountain.
A little further down, images 6403 and 6406 show the last of the golden light bouncing off the clouds
to illuminate the fountain in a warm glow. I stopped by the fountain three times, at different times of day,
to get different looks of the fountain (as three (Trei) was the source of the name, it seemed appropriate).
The soft early morning light required longer shutter speeds, but the lower level of light on the fountain
and the smooth shadows allowed for images which rendered the marble nicely. Further below,
the 7400-series of images were taken in the late afternoon. These were much more difficult
exposures due to the high reflectivity of the marble. Shutter speeds were of course higher,
so the challenges of longer exposures was not present, but the strong reflections and
harder shadows made it more difficult to achieve attractive rendering of the marble.
The 7400-series also includes a few images taken in the softer light after the sun
dropped below the intervening buildings, and I have also included a night shot.


Trevi Fountain 6438
795 x 1290 (453 KB)

In 1629, Pope Urban VIII decided that Alberti’s basin was not dramatic enough for his taste (it was near his family’s Palazzo Barberini, and visible from the Papal residence, the Quirinale Palace), so he had his favorite architect GianLorenzo Bernini start transforming the square and the fountain, financed by an unwelcome tax on wine. Bernini expanded the square, rotated it 90 degrees to face the Quirinale Palace, and started work on a spectacular waterworks, but funds ran out early due to two wars the Pope started, then the Pope died. The new Pope Innocent X initiated legal proceedings against the Barberini for embezzlement of public funds, and Bernini fell into disgrace as the Barberini architect, ending the project.


Oceanus Trevi Fountain 6423
795 x 1290 (392 KB)

It was almost 60 years before the Trevi Fountain situation was addressed again by Clement XI, but the models submitted by Fontana, Castelli and others were not accepted, then the aristocratic family of Poli expanded their property by buying two buildings abutting the piazza and building Palazzo Poli, which seemed to end the project as creation of a monumental fountain might damage the Palazzo. Clement XII addressed it again in 1731, rejecting proposals that tried to preserve the facade of Palazzo Poli, and the competition was won by a Florentine (Alessandro Galilei, a member of Galileo’s family), but Roman outcry over a Florentine architect forced the Pope to award the project to the runner-up, Nicola Salvi.


Trevi Fountain 6437 M
1200 x 1600 (939 KB)

— Note the file size of this very detailed image —

(I have set this image to open in a second window or tab).

This M-sized image shows most of the central sculpture details.
From the left, Giuseppi Pannini’s allegorical sculpture of Abundance
holds a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables while water spills from her jug;
a Triton (mer-man) leads a winged Hippocamp (horse with the rear of a fish);
Oceanus (Pietro Bracchi) stands atop his shell-shaped chariot in flowing drapery;
on the right, Salubrity (also a Pannini allegory) holds a cup from which a snake drinks.
The bas-reliefs above Abundance and Salubrity depict the ancient Roman origin
of the Aqua Virgo (Aqueduct of the Virgin) built by Marcus Agrippa in 19 BC.


Trevi Fountain 6403
1500 x 1092 (573 KB)

These two images were taken as the last rays of sunrise were bouncing off the clouds,
illuminating the fountain in a soft early morning glow. Tritons lead two hippocamps who
pull the shell chariot of Oceanus, who is framed by an apsidal exedral arch. The arch
is flanked by two ornate Ionic columns. In the niches on either side of Oceanus, two
allegorical statues, Abundance and Salubrity (Health) are facing towards Oceanus.


Trevi Fountain 6406 M
1500 x 1290 (752 KB)

This M-sized image was taken at a shallower angle.
The golden light is fading, but the light is still very sweet.

The Tritons, Hippocampi and Oceanus were designed by Giovanni Battista Maini,
the sculptor responsible for the implementation of Nicola Salvi’s design. Due to quarrels
between Salvi and Maini, the inevitable construction delays due to the magnitude of the work,
the invariably occurring cost overruns, and other reasons, the fountain took a long time to build.
Pope Clement XII inaugurated it in 1735 when it was only partially completed, and died five
years later without seeing the finished work. Salvi and Maini never saw it finished either,
as Salvi died in 1751 and Maini in 1752. Before this, however, Pope Benedict XIV
took the opportunity to get his name on the project by staging a second opening
in 1744. His name is emblazoned above the central arch in large gold letters.
After the death of Salvi and Maini, there was a delay before Giuseppi Pannini
took over. Pannini completed the fountain with the installation of Pietro Bracchi’s
Oceanus and the two allegorical sculptures of Abundance and Salubrity (which had
replaced planned sculptures of Marcus Agrippa and Trivia the Virgin) in 1762. A detail
composite below shows the allegorical sculptures Abundance and Salubrity (the design for
these two sculptures was by Giuseppi Pannini, and they were sculpted by Filippo della Valle).


Abundance Salubrity detail
(detail crops — no linked image)

It looks as if Filippo della Valle may have used the same model for both sculptures.


Trevi Fountain 6428
1500 x 1125 (671 KB)

Above and below are two frontal angles taken later, after the light smoothed out.
They show the central sculpture section in very soft light with nearly no shadows.
Here, you can see the bas-reliefs: the one above Salubrity (right) depicts the
Virgin showing the thirsty soldiers the spring which became the source of
the Aqua Virgo. The bas-relief above Abundance (left) depicts Marcus
Agrippa being shown plans, and directing his architect to commence
construction of the aqueduct. Bas-reliefs by Andrea Bergondi Agrippa.
The rocks and plants were by Francesco Pincelotti and Giuseppi Poddi.
Abundance and Salubrity were sculpted by Filippo della Valle. Originally,
these were to have been Agrippa and the Virgin, but Giuseppi Pannini had
the plans changed after the death of Maini (bas-reliefs covered that subject).


Trevi Fountain 6429
1500 x 1110 (697 KB)

One more wide frontal shot and we’ll move on.
Shadows are starting to hit the Triton anyway.

More images are below, shot on a different day (late in the afternoon).

Return to the top of this page


Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Rome Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

Direct Link to the Gallery with images of Bridges, Fountains and Street Scenes

There are a number of images in this section that are not yet on the Photoshelter site.
If an image you want is not yet uploaded, contact Ron Reznick (info at bottom of page).


There are 18 Galleries in the Photoshelter Rome Collection


Trevi Fountain 7485
1500 x 1075 (637 KB)

This wide shot was taken in the late afternoon, with the shadows of the buildings on the water.
As you may know, bright light on marble makes the exposure very difficult. You dance a fine line
between overexposure and losing detail in the shadows, which are of course darker. If you
overexpose the shot by as little as one tenth of a stop, you lose detail in the bright areas,
which are the marble statues that you are interested in capturing. It is quite challenging.


Trevi Fountain 7489
1500 x 1110 (634 KB)

For the following images, I simply ignored the shadowed areas and made certain that
I captured the Placid Hippocamp and Triton on the right, which along with the head and neck
of the Agitated Hippocamp were the brightest areas. After that, it was all processing technique.
You can spot-meter and use positive EV to achieve the exposure, or Matrix and negative EV.
Either way, you had better check the hottest zone and the histogram for overexposure.

I know most of you are not interested in this, but there are a few photographers who may be.


Trevi Fountain 7495 M
1500 x 1200 (625 KB)

This image shows the entire massively constructed Triumphal Arch which was added to the
new facade of the Palazzo Poli. The sections of the arch are defined by four colossal Corinthian
columns holding the architrave upon which Pope Benedict XIV managed to get his name inscribed
in huge gold letters (he did arrange to raise money for the fountain and oversaw the completion
of the rocks, Tritons and Hippocampi, but many people think he held the second opening to
ensure that his name would appear on the facade). Above the columns are allegorical
sculptures: “Abundance of Fruit” (Corsini); “Fertility of the Fields” (Ludovisi); “Riches
of the Autumn Harvest” (Francesco Pincelotti) and “Amenities of the Gardens”
(Bartolomeo Pincelotti). The enormous Papal Coat of Arms of Clement XII
surrounded by two allegories of Fame was executed by Paolo Benaglia.
This coat of arms prominently displayed on their Palazzo really annoyed
the Duke of Poli, but there was little he could do about the Pope’s Arms.


Trevi Triton Hippocampus detail 7502 M
1227 x 1560 (672 KB)

Detail of the “Agitated Hippocamp” and the Triton trying to calm him.


Trevi Tritons Hippocampi detail 7503
1500 x 1092 (553 KB)

The dynamic pose of the Agitated Hippocamp represents the Turbulent Sea.
The more relaxed pose of the Placid Hippocamp represents the Calm Sea.


Oceanus Trevi Fountain 7499 M
994 x 1600 (478 KB)

Two large detailed images of Pietro Bracchi’s Oceanus. This image shows the Placid Hippocamp and his attendant Triton. The statue of Oceanus is over 19 feet tall, taller than Michelangelo Buonarroti’s statue of David in Florence.


Oceanus Trevi Fountain 7497 M
1000 x 1600 (456 KB)

This one shows closer detail of Oceanus and his shell-shaped Chariot of the Sea. That was one truly enormous clam. Oceanus rides the shell drawn by the two hippocampi,  led by the Tritons, this one announcing Oceanus by blowing a conch.


Trevi Fountain 7506
1500 x 1092 (569 KB)

Trevi Fountain in the mauve reflected light of the waning sun.


Trevi Fountain Night 8532
1500 x 1092 (569 KB)

... and last... a night shot. This was one of those extremely tricky long handheld shots.
Normally, a 1/10 second hand-held image is pretty much guaranteed to be blurred. I have
practiced long exposures in dark museums, and it really came in handy in Europe because
there was no possibility of using a tripod (they are not allowed indoors, and the streets are
quite crowded, so I didn’t even bring one). For this I took two shots, one at 1/8 second and
this one at 1/10 second. I didn’t think they would work out, so imagine my surprise later.
I actually had a difficult time deciding which of the two shots to put up on this page.
Of course, it had to be luck, getting both shots clean like that. Once in a lifetime.

Return to the top of this page


Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Rome Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

Direct Link to the Gallery with images of Bridges, Fountains and Street Scenes

There are a number of images in this section that are not yet on the Photoshelter site.
If an image you want is not yet uploaded, contact Ron Reznick (info at bottom of page).


There are 18 Galleries in the Photoshelter Rome Collection



Roman bridges were the first large durable bridges ever built. Most were built of stone,
or at least with stone support piers and wood surfaces, and all used the Roman Arch as
their primary support structure. Many used Roman concrete, which could set underwater.
The Romans were the only ones to use concrete until the 18th-19th c. Industrial Revolution.
The Romans were among the first to utilize the arch in bridges. Many still stand, including
Pons Fabricius shown below, one of the oldest standing bridges in the world (62 BC).
The Romans bridged every river in the Empire except the Nile and the Euphrates.
The Euphrates was on the border with the rival Persian Empire, and the Nile
was not “bridged” until 1902 (by the British Old Aswan Dam project).


Isola Tiberina Ponte Fabricio Ponte Cestio 8073
1500 x 1092 (556 KB)

Isola Tiberina (Tiber Island) with Ponte Fabricio (Pons Fabricius, left) and Ponte Cestio (Pons Cestius,right).

The island in the middle of the Tiber has had a long association with medicine, as it was once the location of an ancient temple to Aesculapius, the Greek god of medicine and healing. It has also been linked to the city by two bridges since antiquity. On the left of the image above, you can see the Ponte Fabricio, the only original bridge left in Rome which has been in continuous use since antiquity. On the right, the Ponte Cestius, which was built just after the Ponte Fabricio, but was partially dismantled and rebuilt (with an additional arch) in the 19th c. when the river was widened and the walls along the bank were built.

In 293 BC, there was a great plague in Rome. During a consultation with the Sibyl (oracle, prophetess), the Senate was instructed to build a temple to Aesculapius, so they sent a delegation to Epidaurus to obtain a statue of the god. Epidaurus was the most famous healing center in the ancient world, with its reputation as the birthplace of Apollo’s son Asclepius (the healer), it developed a cult of Asclepius that was well-established by the 6th c. BC. The healing center in Epidaurus had 160 guest rooms in the 5th c. BC, and by the 4th c. was so popular that it was expanding into monumental buildings. Anyway, back to our story...

Following their magical beliefs, the delegation obtained a snake from a temple on Epidaurus and took it on board their ship, where it curled up around the mast. This was deemed a good sign. When they were returning up the Tiber, the snake slithered off the ship and swam to the island (this was seen as a message from Aesculapius that he wanted a temple built on the island). Eventually, the island became so associated with the temple that it was modeled into the shape of a ship’s hull as a reminder of how it was established. Travertine facing was added in the 1st c. by the banks to resemble a ship’s prow and stern, and an obelisk was erected in the middle of the island to symbolize a mast. Walls were erected, and voila... a ship was created out of an island.

Eventually, the Catholics removed the obelisk and replaced it with a cross-topped column. In 1867, Pope Pius had a spire put in its place. In 998, Emperor Otto had the Basilica of San Bartolomeo all’Isola built over the temple ruins. The island is still considered a place of healing, because Fatebenefratelli hospital (founded in 1584) is still operating on the island.


Ponte Fabricio 8074
1500 x 1092 (692 KB)

Ponte Fabricio on the north side of Isola Tiberina, with the tower of the Old Convent of
 San Bartolomeo all’Isola (now the Isrealite Hospital) and the bell tower of San Bartolomeo.

Ponte Fabricio (Pons Fabricius) is the oldest bridge in Rome still in its original state.
Other than the Ponte Milvio, it is the oldest bridge in Rome (the Milvian Bridge, first built
in wood in 206 BC and rebuilt in stone in 115 BC, was rebuilt several times, blown up to
prevent the advance of French troops (1849) and rebuilt in 1850. It is no longer original).

Pons Fabricius was built in 62 BC to replace an earlier wooden bridge that burned.
It has remained completely intact since antiquity and has been in continuous use.
Its core is tuff and it is faced with brick and travertine. The brick facing was by
Pope Innocent XI (1679). Pope Eugenius IV added travertine paving (1430s).


Ponte Fabricio detail 8078
1500 x 1092 (692 KB)

Pons Fabricius is an example of an early semicircular arched bridge. In its earliest form, the
Roman Arch as used in bridges described a full circle, with the arch continuing underground.
The Pons Fabricius is one of those early bridges (notice that the flood arch over the pier is
vertical up to the springer (the first wedge-shaped block), then the arch begins, but the
large arches use wedge-shaped blocks all the way to the pier). Later bridges used
the same method as the flood opening over the pier, with vertical pillars and a
springer to begin the arch (a springer is flat on the bottom and angled on the
top to begin the arch, converting the force from side-thrust to downward).


Ponte Fabricio detail 8078c
(detail crop — no larger image)

Detail crop, slightly resized down from the master image to fit in this space.
This shows detail of the inscriptions on the large and small arches. You can
also see the springer block in the small arch on the left (the lowest block in
the arch, which is angled on top and flat on the bottom to meet the pillar
and transform side-thrust to downward thrust into the pillar and pier).


He Personally Tested It


Lucius Fabricius, Son of Gaius,
Superintendent of the road, approved that it be built


Ponte Cestio 7860
1500 x 1092 (345 KB)

Ponte Cestio (Pons Cestius) was the first stone bridge from Isola Tiberina to the right (south) bank.
It was built in the 1st c. BC, sometime after the Pons Fabricius. It was either built by Gaius Cestius
in 46 BC or 44 BC (the Pyramid of Cestius is his tomb), or by his father Lucius Cestius (who was
triumvir monetalis, in charge of creating coins) in 43 BC. Pons Cestius was restored in 152 AD,
and in 370 it was almost completely rebuilt, using materials taken from the Theater of Marcellus,
and rededicated as Pons Gratiani (Emperor Gratianus). The construction of the Pons Gratiani
was of lower quality due to the decadence of the time (Rome was near her Fall). Built of tufa
 and peperino and faced with travertine from the Theater of Marcellus, it is likely that little
of the original Pons Cestius was used in the Pons Gratiani, but the form was similar.
 In the late 19th century the bridge was partially dismantled to widen the western
channel of the Tiber, and only a part of the earlier structure remains. During
the reconstruction, a third arch was added to create the current bridge.

This was one of those ridiculous one second handheld shots.
I actually took several at various apertures to make sure
a successful shot was captured, but most of the shots
were usable, so I was able to select the one with the
most attractive rays and coma blur around the lights.
This was shot at f/11 for the longest possible rays while
still achieving an attractive coma blur. For a detailed look
at the results achieved with lights at different apertures, see
the section on Castel sant’Angelo on the Ancient Scenery page.


Castel and Ponte sant’Angelo 7873
1500 x 1092 (422 KB)

Speaking of Castel sant’Angelo (as we were), I decided to include an image here that is not
on the Ancient Scenery page. This image (.77 sec. at f/8), also has long rays and a little more
coma blur around the lights. There are images at f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6 and f/8 on the Ancient Scenery
page, which will allow you to see the difference aperture makes on the look of rays and coma.

Pons Aelius, built by Hadrian in 134 to connect to his Mausoleum, is now Ponte sant’Angelo.
The bridge is faced with travertine and it spans the Tiber with three arches. You are looking
at the bridge from mid-river in this image (the final arch you see has its pier in the river,
but it ends on land. There are two more arches on this side, one fully over the river).
Ponte sant’Angelo is known for the 10 statues of angels placed on the bridge by
Clement IX (1667-1669). After the marble statues were placed on the bridge,
the name was changed from Pons Aelius to Ponte sant’Angelo. Only the
three central arches are original, as the embankment was widened
in 1892 and new arches were constructed at each end to reach.


Ponte Sisto St. Peter’s 7848
1500 x 1083 (394 KB)

Ponte Sisto with Michelangelo’s Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in the background.

Ponte Sisto (built by Sixtus IV, 1473-79) is a foot bridge which replaced the Pons Aurelius.
Pons Aurelius was either built by Marcus Aurelius or Caracalla (whose first two names were
also Marcus Aurelius). The first bridge on the site was built by Marcus Agrippa in 12 BC. It
was renovated or rebuilt under Antoninus Pius in 147, and the name was changed to the
Pons Antonini. It was then rebuilt in in 366-67 by Emperor Valentinian and renamed
Pons Valentinianus. This is sort of like the Popes putting their names on things.
It creates a sort of immortality. Anyway, the bridge collapsed into the Tiber
in 791. So much for immortality. It was rebuilt in 1473, opened in 1475,
and completed in 1479, renamed the Ponte Sisto. It has a hole in the
central pier to relieve pressure during a flood (like the central arch
in the Ponte Fabricio). This hole is its signature characteristic.

This shot and the next should have been impossible. Read on.


Ponte Sant’Angelo St. Peter’s 7083
1500 x 1092 (488 KB)

Finally, another view of Ponte sant’Angelo with St. Peter’s Basilica in the background.

Those photographers among you are about to be amazed... be glad you’re sitting down.
Normally, a good rule of thumb for handheld work is 1/focal length. If the lens is a 28mm,
as it has been for previous night shots, the rule of thumb calls for 1/30 sec., and with lots
of practice you can get consistent results at 1/15 sec. 1/10 ... maybe you’ll get one good
shot out of four. 1/6 sec., maybe one out of 10. This is with a lot of practice, as even your
heartbeat will cause you to move enough to ruin a shot if the exposure is long enough.

Now, let’s discuss the last two shots. These two were taken with an 85mm lens. I have
trained over 2000 photographers, and I can say with confidence that most would get
a yield of 1 for two at 1/60 second with an 85mm after practicing a stable hold. As
the shutter speed gets longer, the yield drops. 1/30 second is typically one shot
clean for every eight (on average), if your subject is not moving (of course).
The shot of Ponte Sisto was 1/4 sec. (f/4), handheld with an 85mm lens.
The shot above was 1/6 sec. (f/4), handheld with an 85mm lens.
These were truly ‘shots in the dark’ (to coin a phase) and
I absolutely crowed when I saw that I had gotten clean
results from both. You’d be gloating too. Trust me.

Return to the top of this page


Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Rome Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

Direct Link to the Gallery with images of Bridges, Fountains and Street Scenes

There are a number of images in this section that are not yet on the Photoshelter site.
If an image you want is not yet uploaded, contact Ron Reznick (info at bottom of page).


There are 18 Galleries in the Photoshelter Rome Collection


Return to the Scenery index page


Open the Master Index on the Rome Select page