Bringing Rome’s Tiber back to life
By Andrea Cuesta
Rome, Jun 24 (EFE).- The iconic banks of Tiber river in Rome, home to civilization for millennia and an oasis in the heart of Italy’s capital, have recently regained their splendor after decades of neglect.
“First there was the river and then the city was created around it. It is the first monument in Rome,” Pierlugi, a 62-year-old local who has spent half his life working on one of the river’s tourist boats, tells Efe.
Despite its historical importance the Tiber has suffered from decades of abandonment.
But this is changing thanks to a regeneration project.
OASIS IN THE CITY
The river is now home to an abundance of fauna, from ducks and frogs to fish and birds, and a bike lane along one of the banks allows residents and tourists to take in the spectacular natural environment.
The urban oasis offers residents and visitors “an atmosphere of tranquility outside the chaotic rhythm of Rome.”
German tourist Klaus Morath says the river and its surroundings have allowed him to find a source of “silence and nature” that reminds him of his hometown in the mountains.
Avid rowers take to the Tiber’s currents in an activity that has always been popular but has seen numbers grow since the pandemic.
LIFE IN ITS WATERS
“It is a relationship of well-being, many people come here and discover this environment for the first time and realize that it is as if they were in another city,” Angelo Raboni, a worker at the historic Navalia rowing club which was founded in 1931. “You are in Rome but without being in it because the noise is muffled.”
Drought has transformed the river in recent decades and the remains of the Nero Bridge pillars have started to emerge. The construction was built in the 1st century to improve access to Nero’s mother’s villa.
Improvised and illegal house boats pepper the archaeological ruins on the waterway.
Giulio Bendandi set up camp on his boat 20 years ago after almost four decades working in one of the restaurants anchored on the banks of the Tiber.
Bendandi says the situation has improved a lot and is much cleaner since he first started living on the river.
“The Tiber is the diversity that changes every day, the colors of Castel Sant’Angelo that are different at all hours of the day. It has many sides to it,like the trees above the river, the birds. It is always in motion, not static, and that’s nice,” Bendandi concludes. EFE