Ah, Rome. The eternal city. For a thousand years, it was home to the most powerful empire on earth…the Roman Empire. For more than 2,000 years, it has been home to another empire of sorts…the Catholic Church. Both empires offer much to see in this city of 2.78 million people.
The Roman Empire has left remnants of itself all over town. The Catholic Church also has remnants, but it is mainly centered in the Vatican, a separate country of its own surround on all sides by the City of Rome. One day after spending some time in the Vatican, I decided to take a walk along one of the most famous rivers in the world…the Tiber.
I took this photo on that walk. The river at this point, flows very close to the Vatican and the famous Castel Sant'Angelo (Castle of the Angels, formerly the tomb of the Roman Emperor Hadrian). So it was quite easy to take a walk along the Tiber.
Obviously it was winter time, and I was fascinated by the shape of the trees along the river. It forms a natural archway along the walk…it must be something to see in the warmer months when the leaves are full. But, I like this winter look as you can see the basic skeleton of the covered walkway.
While I most definitely enjoyed seeing the monuments of both empires, I also enjoyed quiet, undisturbed moment like this where I could wrap my self in the history of thousands of years. What momentous things this city has seen and endured…especially along the Tiber River, the very heart and soul of this eternal city, no matter who was in power at the time.
The Tiber was extremely important to Roman trade and commerce, as ships could reach as far as 60 miles upriver from the mouth of the river at Ostia. That city became a major naval base for the Roman fleet, both for commerce and war. Ostia is about 20 miles west of Rome, so the distance was important to any defense of the city in times of war.
Like the Roman Empire, the river has a very humble beginning about 230 miles north of the city. It consists of two underground springs, about 30 feet apart, high in the Apennine Mountains. In the 1930’s, everyone’s favorite dictator, Benito Mussolini placed an antique Roman column topped off with an Eagle there. Inscribed are the words, "Here is born the river / sacred to the destinies of Rome." Mussolini was heavy into rebuilding the glories of the Roman Empire. It didn’t work out too well for him, but the Tiber flows on.
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