Ponte Sant’Angelo (Holy Angels Bridge) is one of the more photogenic of Rome’s many bridges spanning the Tiber River. The fact that it also happens to lead to the dramatic Castel Sant’Angelo makes your pictures turn out even better!
But surprisingly few tourists bother to stop and take a close look at the lovely angels which line both sides of the bridge–all sculpted by the students of Gianlorenzo Bernini, based on his own designs. If they did, they’d quickly notice that there’s a theme here: each of the angels is holding an object connected with the Passion of Christ, and each pedestal is inscribed with a Scripture verse directly pertaining to that aspect of Our Lord’s sufferings and death.
The “Angel with Cords” was carved by Lazzaro Morelli, and at its base is the inscription, I am ready for the scourge (Ps. 37:18)
Nearby is the “Angel with Column,” which references Christ’s scourging at the pillar. Its accompanying verse says My throne is upon a column (Sirach 24:4).
Paolo Naldini sculpted the “Angel with Sudarium.” The Latin term sudarium means a handerchief or sweat-cloth, and in this case it refers to the veil of Veronica, who used it to wipe Jesus’ Face as He carried the cross.
The somewhat weather-worn inscription beneath this statue says Look upon the face of your Christ (Ps. 84:9).
And the same Paolo Naldini also created the “Angel with Garment and Dice.” The garment, of course, is Jesus’ robe, and the dice were rolled by the Roman soldiers after His crucifixion, to see who would get it. The verse under this statue says For my vesture they cast lots (Ps. 22:18).
Another student of Bernini’s was Girolamo Lucenti, who carved the “Angel with Nails.” The verse accompanying this statue says They will look on me whom they have pierced (Zechariah 12:10).
Are you fascinated yet? These are only half of the angels on the Ponte Sant’Angelo! We’ll show you the rest next week…