Ponte Sisto is a footbridge in Rome's historic centre, spanning the river Tiber. It connects Via del Pettinari in the Rione of Regola to Piazza Trilussa in Trastevere. The construction of the current bridge was ordered by Pope Sixtus IV (for whom it is named) using the architect Baccio Pontelli between 1473 and 1479 to replace what remained of a prior Roman bridge named Pons Aurelius.
Roman Pons Aurelius:
The predecessor bridge to Ponte Sisto, the Pons Aurelius was first mentioned by authors in the 4th and 5th centuries and was later known in the Middle Ages as "Pons Antoninus", "Pons Antonini in Arenula", and "Pons Ianicularis id est pons ruptus vulgariter nominatus et Tremelus et Antoninus". The Pons Antoninus was partially destroyed in 772 and rebuilt in its current form by Pope Sixtus IV, after whom it is still named to this day.
Renaissance Ponte Sisto:
The bridge is architecturally characteristic because of its central circular 'Oculus' or eye: this was erected to diminish the river's pressure on the bridge in case of flood. The Ponte Sisto connects the lively and Popular Campo de' Fiori area with Piazza Trilussa in Trastevere, where many young Romans gather for an aperitivo on a Friday night, with the via dei Pettinari and Via Giulia in rione Regola.
On the corner of via Pettinari and via Giulia once stood a fountain, the mostra (display) of the Acqua Paola Aqueduct, whose water was brought over the bridge from the Transtiberim to the Campo Marzio via Ponte Sisto. After the Unification of Italy in 1870, the buildings surrounding this fountain were destroyed for the erection of the Lungotevere, and the fountain itself relocated to Piazza Trilussa on the other side of the bridge, where it delivers water to this day. The bridge still carries eight large pipes across the river, carrying the water of the Acqua Paola.