The Milvian (or Mulvian) Bridge (Italian: Ponte Molle or Ponte Milvio, Latin: Pons Milvius or Pons Mulvius) is a bridge over the Tiber in northern Rome, Italy. It was an economically and strategically important bridge in the era of the Roman Empire and was the site of the famous Battle of Milvian Bridge.
The bridge was built by consul Gaius Claudius Nero in 206 BC, after he had defeated the Carthaginan army in the Battle of the Metaurus. In 115 BC, consul Marcus Aemilius Scaurus built a new bridge made of stone in the same position, demolishing the old one. In 63 BC letters from the conspirators of the Catiline conspiracy were intercepted here allowing Cicero to read them to the Roman Senate the next day. In AD 312, Constantine I defeated his stronger rival Maxentius between this bridge and Saxa Rubra, in the famous Battle of Milvian Bridge.
During the Middle Ages, the bridge was renovated by a monk named Acuzio, and in 1429 Pope Martin V asked a famous architect, Francesco da Genazzano, to repair the collapsing bridge. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the bridge was modified by two artists, Giuseppe Valadier and Domenico Pigiani.
In late 2006, the bridge began attracting couples, who use a lamppost on the bridge to hang padlocks as a sign of their love. The ritual involves the couple locking the padlock to the lamppost, then throwing the key behind them into the Tiber. The ritual was invented by author Federico Moccia for his popular book and movie "I Want You".
After April 13, 2007, couples had to stop this habit because that day the lamppost, owing to the weight of all padlocks, partially collapsed. However, couples decided to lock their padlocks in other places. In fact, all around the bridge, road posts and even garbage bins have been used to place these love's padlocks. As an online replacement, a web site has been created allowing couples to use virtual padlocks. From July 2007, for people in love, it's possible to hang padlocks again thanks to steel columns put by the mayor. Similar Love padlocks traditions have appeared in other places of Italy and Europe. The bridge is also the main meeting place for the young population of Rome especially during summer. In fact, from May to July "the bridge", is crowded by hundreds of young boys and girls in summer break after the end of the school. In winter, due to the lower temperature, they use to meet during the weekends in some of the many bars near the bridge for the typical "aperitivo" (happy hour) from 6 to 8 pm.
- O’Connor, Colin (1993), Roman Bridges, Cambridge University Press, pp. 64f., ISBN 0-521-39326-4