The Ponte Sanguinario in Spoleto is a bridge with a history. The name, “Bloody Bridge”, derives from the past, when the decapitated martyrs’ heads were thrown from the bridge into the river.
Ponte Sanguinario Spoleto
Address and opening hours
You can reach the Ponte Sanguinaria from the Piazza della Vittoria by walking through the Porta Leonina, along an iron railing on the east side of this square. After crossing a gate you need to go down a short set of stairs.
History and description
The Ponte Sanguinaria was built in the 1st century AD. It is made of huge square blocks of travertine marble and consists of three arches. It has a length of 24 meters and is 4,47 meters wide.
The reason the bridge was built was to facilitate travelling north along the Via Flaminia.
When the river Tessino changed its course and moved north the Ponte Sanguinaria gradually came to be covered with earth. Though found back in 1817, it is still partially covered.
According to legend, the patron saint of Spoleto, San Ponziano, is supposed to have been beheaded at the bridge. When his head was thrown down it bounced three times. At the spot where it came to rest a well appeared. It goes without saying that the inhabitants ended up building the San Ponziano Church in that exact spot.
Another legend mentions a long corridor from the bridge to the Rocca Albernoziana. It is through this corridor that Lucrezia Borgia‘s lovers are supposed to have visited her while she was in Spoleto.