Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Rome, day 7 - Trastevere

We headed towards the Tiber to the Ponte Fabricio.

The bridge was built in 62 BC, and it’s the only intact surviving Roman bridge in Rome; it connects the Campus Martius to the Isola Tiberina. There’s a legend that the island grew up over the body of the hated tyrant Tarquinius Superbus, when angry Romans threw his body into the Tiber (510 BC). Only criminals and contagiously ill people were sent to the island, but then in 293 BC there was a great plague in the city, and the Sibyl told the senate to build a temple to the Greek god of healing on the island. The foundations of the temple still lie under the basilica of San Bartoloemeo.

We crossed over the Ponte Cestio on the other side of the island, which leads to the very pretty Travestere area of the city; we were looking to visit Santa Maria in Trastevere, which is one of the oldest churches in Rome, founded in AD 222.

Allegedly the site of the church is where olive oil came up in a fountain on the day of Christ's birth. The church was rebuilt by Pope Innocent II in the mid 12th century. The mosaics on the front are 12th century.

When we visited the church was full of olive trees and people carrying olive branches, because it was Palm Sunday.

The mosaics on the upper apse are also 12th century.

Outside, there's a pretty square with a fountain.

Then we crossed the Ponte Sisto back over the Tiber - it has a hole in the middle known as "the eyeglass", and when flood water runs through it the alarm is raised. We were a bit stunned to discover that the bridge is 108m long - so the river's not far off that.

From there we walked through the Ghetto

to see the Fontana della Taratughe (16th-century, but apparently Bernini added the turtles in 1658).

Then back to the hotel to flop.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Thanks for some more great photos. I've really enjoyed following your trip to Rome! It is definately on my list of places to visit (along with Rourkes Drift ;o).) Take care. Caroline x