E) THE FINAL FALL AND THE END OF THE BRIDGE
Unfortunately the restored operability of the bridge lasted shortly: on December 24th 1598, being pope Clemens VIII (1592-1605), one of the greatest and most disastrous flood ever recorded in Rome damaged again the bridge. But this time the arches that felt down were those one toward the left bank: practically half bridge was destroyed and dragged away definitively together with the aqueduct.
The piers and the arches destroyed by the flood were no more rebuilt and the bridge get finally the name of Ponte Rotto [Broken bridge], that has been kept until nowadays.
The rest of the bridge, by now neglected, was used as a sort of hanging yard and an area for craft activities. Considered useless as a bridge itself, on the first arch at Trastevere side it was even erected a building that actually blocked the access to the bridge; the cut off end of the bridge was closed by mean of an aedicule with a cross on its top that bounded a sort of private yard at disposal of the building owners (pict.6).
The building and the aedicule were then demolished in 1852 during the works for the restoration of the bridge.
In fact, in 1853, being pope Pius IX, the bridge became passable again thanks to a new project of the architect Pietro Lanciani, who substituted the missing arches with a single suspended iron walkway, similar to that one of the Fiorentini bridge, constructed by a French company. In the map of the Direzione Generale del Censo dated 1866 are indicated the names "Ponte Rotto" for the masonry part, "Ponte di Ferro" [Iron Bridge] for the iron walkway and "Ponte Palatino" for the overall bridge.
But also the walkway lasted shortly: the construction of the new Palatino bridge (carried out within 1886 and 1891 by Angelo Vescovali) within the project for the improvement of the Tiber area with the construction of the "embankments" caused the final end of the Aemilius bridge (1884) with the demolition of the two arches towards Trastevere and subsequently of the iron walkway (1887) leaving the central arch only (pict.7 "Rome in 1890" di H. E. Tidmarsh e H. W. Brewer, in which is shown the town as it was in 1885).
The only remaining arch of the Aemilius bridge among the six original arches, the third one from Trastevere, is now rightly known as Ponte Rotto. In the internal side of the arch, under the travertine covering, are still visible the peperino blocks of the original construction, while outside, in the lunettes at the top of the arches, stands out the dragon, the heraldic symbol of the Boncompagni family of pope Gregorius XIII, author of the last great restoration.