Rome has officially inaugurated a new beach along the banks of the Tiber river. Dubbed Tiberis, the sandy, waterside hangout stretches 10,000 square metres between the San Paolo and Marconi districts, just south of the bustling historic centre.
Inspired by the City of Light’s Paris Plages, or riverside beaches, Tiberis has been in the works since last year. It recently made its debut this August as part of Mayor Virginia Raggi’s plan to “relaunch and enhance” the Tiber. Says Raggi, “we hope to make this space usable to Romans again…now Rome is like Paris and other European capitals, where you can sunbathe on the banks of the river.”
The beach sprawls along the once abandoned embankments and boasts lounge chairs, vending machines, changing rooms, and beach umbrellas. Swimming in the river itself, however, is banned. After years of complaints from locals on the state of the Tiber – think pollution, excessive rubbish, and general neglect – Italy’s third-longest river is slowly coming back to life. Its banks now host the annual Lungo il Tevere summer festival, composed of pop-up restaurants, bars, shops, and stages for concerts and cultural events. And in 2016, South African artist William Kentridge was commissioned to create a larger than life, 500-metre-long mural along the river’s walls depicting scenes from the history of the capital. Ancient Roman centurions, the she-wolf who legend says cared for the city’s founders Romulus and Remus as infants, and beloved Roman writer and film director Pier Paolo Pasolini are all part of the artwork.
Tiberis marks the second time that the Eternal City has opened an artificial beach on the Tiber: in 2005 it launched Tevere Village Beach right below Castel Sant’Angelo, a project that was well-received by both Romans and tourists. Tiberis is open from 8am to 2pm throughout the month of September, before temporarily closing during the autumn and winter seasons. Admission is free.