Isola Tiberina (Tiber island)

"Isola Tiberina (Tiber island)" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Sunday 26th June 2011

The size of this little island rises in the middle of the river Tiber is 300mx80m, along the creek that divides Trastevere from the area of the Piazza Navona. The legend wants it to be born in 510 b.C. either on the deposits of corn thrown to the river by Romans during an uprising, or upon the grounded nave which was chosen by a snake of Aesculapius to arrive here. The island thus was consecrated to the god of medicine (till our days a hospital stands here). Created on the equal distance from both river sides the island was always a stranger for Trastevere and shared the life of the left side of Tiber since the ancient times.

Isola Tiberina (Tiber island), Rome
Legend has it that the Isola Tiberina (Tiber island) was created in a peculiar way: after driving out king Tarquinius Superbus and as a mark of their hatred towards the tyrant, the Roman populace cast all his crops into the Tiber and the mud that accumulated on them formed the island itself. In actual fact, a tufa bank, like the one of the nearby Capitoline hill, is the geological foundation for the sand deposits brought there by the river’s current. From the remotest times, the need for the peoples on both banks to ford the river made this island crucial because the river was not deep here. Over the centuries, despite its later sacred character, the island was inserted in the trading activities of the nearby port by building its bridges and embankments.

Another ancient tradition tells why the island has always been associated with caring for the sick and also explains why it was also called the Stone Ship. In 291 BC, Rome was stricken by a terrible plague that had claimed many lives and, after consulting the Sibylline Books, the priests sent a delegation to Epidaurus, the centre of worship of the cult Aesculapius, god of medicine. The ambassadors returned to Rome bringing back a serpent, an animal sacred to the god, with them on their ship. As Ovid writes in Metamorphosis, as the ship came alongside the Tiber island, the serpent jumped out and a temple dedicated to Aesculapius was erected on the place where the snake had taken refuge.
Isola Tiberina (Tiber island) - connected to the banks through Fabricio and Cestio bridges, rome
Even now it belongs to the district Ripa according to an administrative division of the historical center of modern Rome. The island hosts a division of river-police, and it also was for a long time a seat of a morgue for drowned persons. Every year on the 24th of August the Sagra dei Cocomeri (Feast of watermelons) took place on the island. Some watermelons thrown into the river had to be picked by the young people from water under two bridges connecting Isola Tiberina with the main land. The Pons Cestius linking the Trastevere suburb to the island, and the Pons Fabricius, also known as “dei Quattro Capi”, whose access is guarded by the medieval Torre Caetani, links the island to the Ghetto area. After 1870 this games were prohibited because quite often some of the swimmers were brought by the current under the wheels of water-mills existed in that epoch.
Basilica of St. Bartholomew on the Tiber Island.jpg
The Isola Tiberina (Tiber island) has always been a “place of health”. In ancient times this function was exalted by the building of shrines and temples, now long gone, dedicated to varies deities, and by the many votive offerings from the sick found. In more recent times, the tradition continued with the construction of the Basilica of San Bartolomeo in whose entrance staircase was left an ancient well of salutary water – a place of hope for the many disabled. Moreover, in 1582 the island’s other church, dedicated to San Giovanni Calibita, was entrusted to Spanish friars who set up a hospital that is still functioning today under the name of “Fatebenefratelli”, from the litany that the good friars used to chant when going out at dusk to ask for alms.

During summer, the island hosts the Isola del Cinema (Cinema Island) film festival. Walking along the banks of the Tiber Island you will enjoy many proposals, in the summer breeze with the notes of the best soundtracks of films, a unique place, which was defined by the UNESCO a World Heritage Site. Buying a single 15 € ticket it is possible to rent a bike for a full day and load it on a service boat, an then use the cycle track that run alongside the river up to Ponte Marconi; fron there it is possibie reach Ostia Antica by boat.

Isola Tiberina (Tiber island)
Ponte Cestio, Piazza di San Bartolomeo all'Isola, 38-39
00186, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Zone: Rione Ripa (Circo Massimo-Bocca Verità-Aventino) (Roma centro)
Isola Tiberina (Tiber island) is Shown By "Map J Zone" As "9"
Bus: H - 23 - 63 - 280 - 630 - 780
Tram: service 8
Metro Subway: service B, stop Circo Massimo

Contact - Basilica di San Bartolomeo all'Isola (Basilica of St. Bartholomew on the Tiber Island)

Contact - Church of San Giovanni Calibita on the Tiber island

Contact - Ospedale Israelitico (Jewish Hospital)
Via Fulda, 14
Piazza San Bartolomeo all'Isola, 21
Via G. Veronese, 59
Phone: +39 06 602911

Contact - Fatebenefratelli Hospital (Ospedale Fatebenefratelli)/ Ospedale San Giovanni Calibita - Fatebenefratelli, Isola Tiberina (San Giovanni Calibita Hospital, Tiber island)

Contact - L'Isola del Cinema (The Cinema Island)
Via Carlo Armellini, 16
Tel: 06 58 333 113
Fax: 06 58 11 060
Official website of L'Isola del Cinema (The Cinema Island):

Cruises On The Tiber Island
The boat will start from the Tiber Island (Trastevere side), sailing up to Ponte Cavour and back to the Island after about 40 minutes. For information and booking call phone numbers 06/69294147, 06/6789361 or refer to the website:

More details about The Isola Tiberina (Tiber island), Visit:

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