Police closed the bridge in front of Castel S. Angelo in Rome on Friday evening 12 December as flood water rose to dangerous levels and a Tiber river boat dragged its moorings and crashed broadside into the ancient bridge.

The boat lodged against the structure on the up-stream side of the bridge, blocking nearly three of the arches. The obstacle created by the boat was preventing the smooth flow of the floodwater under the bridge, as well as causing considerable strain on the old structure.

On Friday evening police put up cordons and started towing away cars parked along the riverside curb of the Lungotevere embankment in an attempt to ease the flow of rush-hour traffic along one of the main roads around the city