The Tiber (Tevere) is very different from the Thames in London, the Seine in Paris or the Danube in Vienna and Budapest. It seems to have a life of its own, separate from the rhythm of life of the city. There are no ships, hardly any activity on or along the river. Traffic flows on the Lungotevere boulevards along it, but it seems like nobody takes notice of the river flowing underneath.
This was not always the case: The embankments were only built in the 19th century; until then there used to be houses along the river; in previous century the ruver was navigable; the Tiber was used for fishing,bathing and even for drinking water. However, it always had its problems, with sediment and silting requiring regular heroic maintenance, and finally making it unsuitable for navigation. Floods used to occur in the adjoining areas until the high embankments were constructed. They also creaed a separation between the boulevards high above the river and the water far down below.
A walk along the Tiber at dusk or at night can be very Romantic. There are restaurants down by the river, which suddenly ligt up and become noticeable after dark. Some of the older bridges are pedestrian bridges, such as the Ponte Sant'Angelo.
Some of Rome's attractions, such as Catel Sant'Angelo and the Jewish Ghetto and Synagogue, are situated along the Tiber ans can be comnined with a "Tiber walk".
We only spent one evening near the Tiber River and only walked across 1 bridge, the Ponte Fabricio/Ponte Cestio bridge, which spans the Tiber River in 2 segments and connects to the Isola Tiberina (Island in the Tiber). I guess if you are going to walk across 1 bridge in Rome, this is the one to walk across.
We were in Rome shortly after a period of intense rain and flooding. The Tiber had returned to normal levels, but it was obvious how high it had flowed just a couple weeks before. Unfortunately, it looks like the Tiber is somewhat forgotten as it had quite a bit of litter (mostly plastic bags and bottles) in and around it. The River has largely also been walled in to prevent flooding, but it also prevents people from reaching it. There appeared to be a bike path running along the River that I would like to walk along on my next visit to Roma.
I saw on the television on New Year's Day that a couple wild and crazy locals dive off of one of the Tiber's bridges into the chilly and dirty waters below. Brave souls.
One of the nicest parts of the Tevere-Tiber is for me the part of the river between the Umberto I bridge and the Vittorio Emanuele II bridge. This is the part facing eastwards the Palace of Justice and westwards the bridge leading to the Piazza San Pietro with in the middle the Castel S. Angelo.
Best views are from the river bank called Lungotevere Tor di Nona facing the castle. Around 1400 stood in this area a medieval tower called Torre dell'Annona belonging to the Orsini and used as a pontifical prison.
When a new prison was built Tor di Nona was rebuilt in 1667 as a theatre called Teatro Apollo which the largest lyric theater of Rome. When the embankments (lungoteveri) of the Tiber were built in 1888 the theater disapeared but the name remained.
This part of the river is furthermore enhanced with the most elegant bridge of Rome: Ponte Sant'Angelo. No visitor should miss a walk on this riverbank.
No matter where you are in the centre of Rome, you're never far from some other point of interest. Whichever way you turn as you leave the place you've just been visiting, having lunch in, whatever, is bound to lead you somewhere interesting. Standing in front of the Synagogue after our tour of the ghetto, we had to decide - left, right or straight ahead (behind would have taken us back into the ghetto).
Pretty much straight in front of us, the Ponte Fabricio (the oldest bridge in Rome, dating back to 62BC and still in everyday use) led across to the Isola Tiberia, the tiny island in the middle of the river - but that was where we were meeting a friend the next day, so not that way.
Right, up river, leads around a big bend in the river towards Castel Sant' Angelo; turning left takes you towards the Ponte Palatino and the Forum Boarium which once had a port on the river. Either way, the walk is lovely. The river banks are lined with sycamores and there are paths both at street level or down at river level.
We turned left and strolled along the Lungotavere de Pierleoni until we reached the Ponte Palatino. From this bridge you can see the last remaining pier of Rome's first stone-built bridge, the Ponte Rotto. It dates back to 181BC and was in use until the late 16th century, when storm damage left it in ruins. Ponte Rotto means Broken Bridge.
To see a different side of Rome take a stroll along the banks of the Tiber River and take in the different views of the many different bridges of Rome. Not only will it take you away from the crowds, it will also provide many different photo opportunities. This is an excellent way to spend a few hours during any time of the day.
Our first morning was sunny and beautiful - December, so not warm. We walked from the Colosseum to St Peters, taking back streets and along the river as much as possible.
Just great, and the perfect way to prepare for pizza and beer at lunchtime!
There are several ancient stone bridges going across the Tiber river, and none are the same. Every one has a different shape, different statues, etc and each is a work of art. On the pedestrian bridges you'll likely find vendors selling counterfeit handbags and crap, but the bridges are totally worth checking out.
The River Tiber forms the heart of the city, yet, other than its initial beginnings where settlement developed at the easiest crossing point, due to the silting and low levels, has never formed a major part of the city's lifeline - the main port was Ostia at the river mouth 25kms south west of the city. Up until 1870, the city also flooded regularly until the embankments on both banks were built. Yet its many bridges and the grand avenues running along its banks, linking areas such as Trastevere to the city, make it a vital part of touring the city.
So, don't fight that Ostia traffic - come right here to the banks of the Tiber............
Sand, lounge chairs, umbrellas, 2 swimming pools, cafe, bar - and great view of passing boats -- Castel Sant Angelo in the background!
Waves in the form of music splash about the "Beach of Roma" (aka the banks of the Tevere). The Tevere's floating stage resounds with a constant flow of entertainment throughout the summer 2006.
Puccini's TOSCA - presented on the floating Tevere stage - all this and with the lights of Castel Sant Angelo in the background. An exhilarating sight to behold and the ultimate romantic evening in Roma - a dinner cruise of the Tevere capped by music under the stars! (OK, maybe stars are seldome seen over Rome)
More photos to come as we attend events.
Tickets range from 5 Euro to 25 Euro depending on the performance - purchase ticket at sidewalk ticket booth.
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