Stretching across the banks of the Anio River, the graceful seven-arched bridge of Ponte Lucano connects past and present within a storied landscape. Dating from the 1st century B.C. and extending the ancient consular road of Via Tiburtina, Ponte Lucano served the road from Tivoli to Rome until the mid-20th century and remained in use for car traffic until just a few years ago. For over two millennia, Ponte Lucano has survived and adapted to the growing urban landscape while maintaining its historic identity and architectural integrity.
The bridge is part of an archaeological landscape that includes remains of the mausoleum of Plautii (1st century B.C.) and a 16th-century public inn, and acts as a gateway to the Villa Adrianna World Heritage Site. However, recent development pressures and management issues along the Anio waterway have dramatically altered its enduring character. The bridge and its surrounding sites are threatened by floods induced by the artificial course of the Anio and illegal industrial dumping in the river. In 2004, a plan intended to counteract these problems introduced concrete flood barriers, severing access to the site and failing to protect the vulnerable historic structures. Public outcry, the efforts of Italia Nostra, and Watch listing are raising awareness about this fabled intersection of roadways, waterways, history, and politics.