Tiber banks in Rome: Things to do on the banks of the Tiber river

on 7. September 2021   /   0   /  

Tiber banks in Rome. Almost every major city has its river: Paris the Seine, London the Thames, Berlin the Spree, and the Tiber splits Rome into western and eastern flanks. For a long time I paid little attention to Rome’s river. And yet Rome, without its river winding behind the high walls of the Italian capital, would never have become the jewel and tourist magnet that it is today. And apart from that, there is a lot to discover and to experience around the banks of the Tiber. In the following article I will tell you my favorite tips about the Tiber river in Rome.

The Tiber in Rome: The father of all waters

The river on whose shores the city of Rome was built is easily forgotten by tourists and guidebooks, but here lies the origin of Rome: Rome’s Emperor Diocletian even described the Tiber as “the father of all waters”. Near the water was in antiquity, as well as in the Middle Ages, fundamental for the construction of a settlement, or for the establishment of a city. On the one hand because of the water supply, on the other hand, water access was and is an important transport, trade and communication channel and thus an important factor in gaining wealth and power.


Even today, the Tiber is one of the most important Italian rivers. With its 405 kilometers, it is the third longest river in the peninsula, after the Po and the Adige. His fame, however, is mainly related to Rome. The fact that the banks of the Tiber today hide behind high walls and the riparian zone so separated from the city center, is mainly due to the recurring floods on the banks of the Tiber.

7 tips on the banks of the Tiber in Rome

Tip 1 Banks of the Tiber in Rome: The Tiber island

In the middle of the Tiber, in the center of Rome, lies a small island. The Tiber Island (Italian: Isola Tiberina) is just 270 meters long and up to 67 meters wide.


According to legend, the Isola Tiberina is said to have originated from ears of corn which threw the Roman people into the Tiber after it drove out the last Etruscan-Roman king, Tarquinius Superbus. Its shape is reminiscent of a small ship, and as it facilitated the crossing of the river, it was central to the city and its inhabitants.

Tip 2 Banks of the Tiber in Rome: Ancient bridges

Sure, where there is a river, there are also bridges. The Isola Tiberina, for example, has two bridges connecting it to the banks of the Tiber and the rest of the city: the ancient but relatively well-preserved Ponte Fabricio Bridge and Ponte Cestio, which connect the Tiber Island to the Trastevere area.


Since the ancient Romans were among the first important bridge builders, you can discover many more bridges around the banks of the Tiber, many of which date back to pre-Christian times. I have already posted a separate article to the 5 most beautiful bridges in Rome.

Tip 3 Banks of the Tiber in Rome: Hop-on / Hop-off boat trip over the Tiber

I’m sure you are already familiar with the concept of hop-on / hop-off tours.

The same concept also exists on the water: The Hop on Hop off boat ticket can easily be booked online, costs 18 euros (including audio guide) and is valid for 24 hours. Nowadays, the small island is dominated by the Basilica of San Bartolomeo all’Isola and the Hospital Ospedale Fatebenefratelli, run by the Order of the Brothers of Charity.

I have to admit: The length of the route is manageable and can also be covered on foot. But it is a nice change to let the wind blow in your face and take in Rome from a different perspective – without the hustle and bustle of downtown and large groups of tourists.


Nowhere does one have a better view of Rome’s many bridges than from the water and while your tired feet recover from sightseeing thanks to the boat trip. You can comfortably enjoy the view and listen to the background information about the history of the city.

Tip 4 Banks of the Tiber in Rome: An aperitif or a dinner on the Tiber

You want to upgrade the city tour by boat? Then I recommend you one of the tours, where an aperitif or even a complete dinner is offered. The romantic 90-minute sunset cruise including wine and snacks is available for just 35 Euros and it’s an absolutely romantic experience. For a complete dinner on a trip on the Tiber, you should plan 2.5 hours and around 70 euros.


Tip 5 Banks of the Tiber in Rome: The Festival Lungo il Tevere (Along the Tiber)

For almost 20 years, the annual festival Lungo il Tevere (along the Tiber) enriches the Roman summer and the Roman nightlife at the same time. From the beginning of June to the end of August, the banks of the Tiber are blooming with new life. There are stalls, tents, pavilions and the restaurants of the area build terraces right on the banks of the Tiber from the Porta Portese to Piazza Trilussa. You can reach the festival via two separate street level entrances. The one staircase can be found near the Sisto bridge, and the second is via the steps near the Sublicio bridge.


You are looking for advice on the Tiber River in Rome? You are always well advised with the Lungo il Tevere Festival, one of my personal favorites. Whether you just want to drop by for an aperitif, come to dinner, or go for a stroll in the middle of the stalls looking for some souvenir or original souvenirs for the loved ones at home – at the summery Tiber festival you can do Rome in a very special way: At sea, open-air and free of charge. It offers a colorful mix of art, live music, theater, crafts, food and drink, as well as the city lights on the glittering water surface.

Tip 6 Banks of the Tiber in Rome: Open-air cinema on the Tiber Island

Another festival that animates the banks of the Tiber every summer: The Isola del cinema (Island of Cinema) film festival transforms the Isola Tiberina into an imposing open-air cinema every summer from mid-June to the beginning of September for 25 years. In a unique setting, you can look at a total of three open-air screens with new releases and classics.


Some screenings are also shown in original language with Italian subtitles. The tickets for the film screenings you get for about 6 euros.

Tip 7 Banks of the Tiber in Rome: river cruise over the Tiber to Ostia Antica

Did you know that you can combine visiting the excavations of Ostia Antica with a Tiber River Cruise? The Italian tour operator The Grand Tour (the site is unfortunately only available in Italian) offers a special day trip to Ostia Antica.

Amphie theatre-Ostia-Antica-Rome

For 29.00 euros per person, a boat trip to Ostia Antica including subsequent visit to the ancient archaeological site is offered. The return journey is by bus. More about Ostia Antica and how you get into the ancient port city without a boat, I’ll tell you in a separate article.

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