Tiber Island, Rome - The Traveller


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tiber Island, Rome


Tiber Island – Amazing History

Tiber Island is a small island also known as Isola Tiberina which is located in the middle of Rome’s Tiber River. The island has amazing history which originallywas a home to an ancient temple of Asclepius the god of healing and is associated with healing since the Roman Republic era.

 As per legend it is said that from god’s temple a snake had come to the island from a boat where the island itself resembles a boat. Towards the 16thcentury, a hospital was built there which is still functioning. One can take glimpses of the island by going from the Jewish Ghetto to Trasteverse and get views of the river and the island on the bridge and then follow through the tiny squares on the island.

Besides the hospital there is also a church, San Bartolemeno all’Isola on the island and a lovely area to stroll through the Eternal City.Emperor Otto III had ordered the construction of the church in 998 AD, on the foundation of the Temple of Asclepius.

The church was constructed with materials that were taken from ancient structures and was dedicated to Saint Adalbert, the former bishop of Prague as well as a friend of the emperor.

Important During Roman Period – Enabled Crossing of the River

The island measuring about 270 meters in length and 67 meters in breadth at is widest point, was said to be important during the early Roman period since it enabled the crossing of the river. It is connected by two bridges to the main land which have existed since the antiquity, the Ponte Fabricio that travels towards the Theatre of Marcellus on the left bank from the northeast area of the island and the Ponte Cestio that connects the island to Trastevere which is a neighbourhood towards the right bank.

According to legend Tiber Island came to be formed when Roman citizens had expelled the last of the Tarquin Kings and in anger the rebels had thrown wheat sheaves that had been stolen from the king into the river. Silt and dirt had accumulated around the wheat and eventually formed an island. However, the island in reality had developed much before the Etruscans ruled over Tome by natural means due to the river getting wider and the current less stronger.

Tiber Island a Mystery/Shrouded in Legend

The island had always been a place of mystery and shrouded in legend which is surrounded by the river and inseparably linked to the origins of Rome. It has been heralded by the Ponte Rotto, the Pons Aemilius, the first stone bridge in Rome, and restored many times due to the turbulence of the Tiber which then had won the battle, besides only a few.

This amazing island in the middle of the Tiber was known as `Intra duos pontes’ by the Romans and the island seems to be connected to the terra firma by two bridges, which were originally made of wood. One of the bridge is Cestio which was built in 46 BC by Lucius Cestius being restored many times with the flooding of the river so that what was a single span bridge ended up with three arches. It was also called Ponte San Bartolomeno and ponte ferrato – bridge strengthened with iron.

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