Although historical sources can not certainty testify which event led the bridge to have this name
, the most accredited version by the tradition is about St. Ponziano’s martyrdom
Around the 2nd century, when Marcus Aurelius was the undisputed emperor of the Roman Empire, a young nobleman named Ponziano lived in Spoleto. One day he met an aged preacher who had recently come to the city. The old man claimed that the gods worshiped by the Romans were just an illusion, and that all human beings were created by only one perfect Being, a single benevolent God who would have rewarded with eternal life whoever followed his word. Listening those words, Ponziano got upset and in the night, he brought many doubts with him on the bed. As soon as he was asleep, the God narrated by the old man a few hours before appeared to him in a dream and asked him to become his servant. The dream was so real, the emotion so such passionate that Ponziano had no hesitation: he converted himself and began a preacher of the Christians religion.
Nevertheless, the anti-Christian policies carried out by Marcus Aurelius were implacable: the emperor's soldiers came to Spoleto soon and Ponziano was involved in the ruthless persecution. According the tradition the young man was first thrown into the amphitheater - still visible nearby the bridge – together with the lions, but they did not dare to approach. Then the centurions took him and threw him into the hot coals, but Ponziano remained unharmed once again. Eventually, the soldiers, annoyed and even afraid, led him to the bridge that at the time led the Via Flaminia over the Tessino River. Today the river has naturally deviated to the East and the numerous floods over time buried the bridge, which was only discovered in 1817. There the soldiers beheaded Ponziano and threw his head in the river, as they do with many other Christians.