The Tiber has always been an important part of the eternal city’s urban landscape, and a vacation in Rome isn’t complete without discovering the historic sites of the river.
The river itinerary starts at the Tiber Island, a sacred site for the Romans, who shaped it to resemble a ship in the 1st century BC. They placed a large obelisk in the center and a temple to thank the god Asclepius for ending the plague. The Basilica di San Bartolomeo, which still dominates the island, was built on the ruins of the temple.
The Fabricio pedestrian bridge allows you to cross the Tiber and continue the itinerary through the ancient Jewish Ghetto, between Monte dei Cenci and the Theatre of Marcellus. This is the perfect spot for a break to try the Jewish cuisine specialties in the typical neighborhood trattorias. The Ghetto overlooks the Lungotevere De’ Cenci where the oldest synagogue in Rome is located.
Continue to the former cattle market of Forum Boarium, where legend says the twin founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, were found. Stop to see the temples of Vesta and Fortuna, and then visit the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin with the famous Mouth of Truth, immortalized by the unforgettable scene in Roman Holiday with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn.
When you reach the Castel Sant’Angelo, cross the spectacular Ponte Sant’Angelo with its angel sculptures by Bernini and continue along Lungotevere Castello and Lungotevere Prati. Stop for a grattachecca, a drink made of ice and fresh fruit in one of the kiosks at Ponte Cavour. Cross the bridge to reach the Ara Pacis, the magnificent altar of peace built by Emperor Augustus to celebrate the period of peace that came after conquering Gaul and Spain.