The bridge that links Campus Martius with the Island in the Tiber, the Pons Fabricius, was built in 62 BC. Much of the original structure still remains- blocks of tufa and peperino stone, covered with travertine. Today's name comes from an ancient dedication, still legible today, honoring the construction to Fabricius, the curator of streets.
At one time, it was called the Bridge of Four Heads because of the two four-headed Januses placed on the parapets and intended to hold the bronze balustrade. In the Middle Ages, it was named the Pons Judeorum, the Bridge of the Jews, while their Synagogue was known as the Scola Quattro Capi after the bridge's famous statues. This synagogue was suppressed by an edict from Pope Paul IV.
The scene that unfolds as you cross the bridge is one of the most significant in Rome. Downriver from the island, where today's Ponte Palatino stands, was the ford which, in ancient times, allowed people to cross the river and reach the Via del Sale.
It was here that King Ancus Martius had the first bridge built in Rome, the Pons Sublicius
, a bridge made entirely of wood like all the bridges built before the 2nd century BC. By no coincidence, this was the location of the bridge on which Horatius single handedly held off the Etruscan army that was trying to enter the city to reinstall the hated King Tarquin the Proud.
Closer back to the island you can still see one arch from the Ponte Emilio
, the first masonry bridge built in the 2nd century AD and frequently destroyed by the Tiber's current which, at this point, is particularly violent. Today the Romans justly call this the Ponte Rotto
, the Broken Bridge.