Waterways never fail to charm their visitors, and the Tiber River is no exception. With its source in the Emilia-Romagna region and its stream running through Tuscany, the Tiber finally reaches its mouth in Ostia port, near Rome, before finally flowing into the Mediterranean Sea. As it happens with such vital geographical facts, its destiny is strongly intertwined with the one of the Eternal City itself, acting as a pivotal means of transportation for precious goods, such as wheat, salt and, obviously, wine — lest you think the dolce vita is just a modern catchphrase.
With all this in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Romans today still love to spend their leisure time around the mighty river. The evenings of l’estate Romana (the Roman summer) simply couldn’t have a better setting than the one of gentle lights flitting on its peaceful waters.
Like every year around this time, the Tiber’s banks bustle with life thanks to the series of events known by the name of Lungo il Tevere… Roma (Along the Tiber Rome), where colorful stands and festivals, organized by the cultural association La Vela d’Oro and sponsored by the city council, show once again the strong relationship between Rome and its natural artery.
To properly enjoy the final month of celebrating (festivities end on Sept. 1), there are a few things to keep in mind: After your mandatory stroll in Campo de’ Fiori and the picturesque streets sprawling around the famous piazza, take Via de’ Giubbonari, turn right on Via dell’Arco del Monte and walk straight toward the river. Once there, cross Ponte Sisto (Sisto Bridge) and go down the marble stairs, where you will find stands, bars and restaurants ready to delight locals and tourists from all over the world who are spending their summer holidays in Rome.
At the many stands, you will find a range of products, from leather goods to clothes and jewelry, both Italian and ethnic style; ice cream and tiramisu; cosmetics and natural skincare products; children’s toys and a special magic stand with an illusionist showcasing all types of sleight-of-hand entertainment. Ladies flock to the Capim d’Oro stand selling necklaces, bracelets, earrings, sandals and other accessories made with capim dourado, a rare vegetable fiber native from Brazil whose gilded natural hue remains unchanged with time. The eco-friendly material is used to create elegant and hypoallergenic ornament pieces. When you feel like taking a break from all the scenic shopping, make your way into one of the eateries serving different types of cuisine, from Italian to Turkish to Mexican. Some even have live music for their patrons to enjoy.
With the summer’s usual blazing heat being surprisingly late, spending an evening along the river is especially pleasant this year. And since Lungo il Tevere … Roma is also about history and the arts, everybody will find something to indulge in. For the last three weeks of the festival, in fact, nightly concerts will take place with different styles of music (jazz, ’60s and ’70s radio tunes or rock) at various spots along the river and on Isola Tiberina (Tiber Island). There are also photo and art exhibits — make it a point to see Roman artist Alba Gonzales’ sculptures — as well as historian-led walks from Tiber Island to other famous places in the city center, allowing you to learn more of the backstory for landmarks such as the Pantheon.
Photos Courtesy of Angela Corrias