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The Tiber Island (Italian : Isola Tiberina, Latin: Insula Tiberina) is the only island in the part of the Tiber which runs through Rome. Tiber Island is located in the southern bend of the Tiber.
The island is boat-shaped, approximately 270 metres (890 feet) long and 67 metres (220 feet) wide, and has been connected with bridges to both sides of the river since antiquity. Being a seat of the ancient temple of Asclepius and later a hospital, the island is associated with medicine and healing. The Fatebenefratelli Hospital founded in the 16th century, and the Basilica of St. Bartholomew on the Island dating from the 10th century are located on the island.
The island has been linked to the rest of Rome by two bridges since antiquity, and was once called Insula Inter-Duos-Pontes which means "the island between the two bridges". The Ponte Fabricio, the only original bridge in Rome, connects the island from the northeast to the Field of Mars in the rione Sant'Angelo (left bank). The Ponte Cestio, of which only some original parts survived, connects the island to Trastevere on the south (right bank).
There is a legend which says that after the fall of the hated tyrant Tarquinius Superbus (510 BC), the angry Romans threw his body into the Tiber. His body then settled onto the bottom where dirt and silt accumulated around it and eventually formed Tiber Island. Another version of the legend says that the people gathered up the wheat and grain of their despised ruler and threw it into the Tiber, where it eventually became the foundation of the island.
In ancient times, before Christianity spread through Rome, Tiber Island was avoided because of the negative stories associated with it. Only the worst criminals and the contagiously ill were condemned there. This however changed when a temple was built on the island.
Tiber Island was once the location of an ancient temple to Aesculapius, the Greek god of medicine and healing.
Accounts say[ clarification needed ] that in 293 BC, there was a great plague in Rome. Upon consulting the Sibyl, the Roman Senate was instructed to build a temple to Aesculapius, the Greek god of healing, and sent a delegation to Epidauros to obtain a statue of the deity. The delegation went on board a ship to sail out and obtain a statue.
Following their belief system, they obtained a snake from a temple and put it on board their ship. It immediately curled itself around the ship's mast and this was deemed as a good sign by them. Upon their return up the Tiber river, the snake slithered off the ship and swam onto the island. They believed that this was a sign from Aesculapius, a sign which meant that he wanted his temple to be built on that island.
This location may have been chosen for the Aesculapius Temple because it was separate from the rest of the city, which could help protect whoever was there from plague and illnesses.
The island eventually became so identified with the temple it supported that it was modeled to resemble a ship as a reminder of how it came to be. Travertine facing was added in mid or late first century by the banks to resemble a ship's prow and stern, and an obelisk was erected in the middle, symbolizing the vessel's mast. Walls were put around the island, and it came to resemble a Roman ship. Faint vestiges of Aesculapius' rod with an entwining snake are still visible on the "prow".
After the Temple of Aesculapius, shrines dedicated to other deities were also erected after the 2nd century BC, namely:
In time, the obelisk was removed and replaced with a cross-topped column. After it was destroyed in 1867, Pope Pius IX had an aedicula, called "Spire", put in its place. This monument, designed by Ignazio Jacometti, is decorated with statues of four saints related to the island: St. Bartholomew, St. Paulinus of Nola, St. Francis and St. John. Parts of the obelisk are now in the museum[ which? ] in Naples.
In 998 Emperor Otto III had a basilica, that of San Bartolomeo all'Isola, built over the Aesculapius temple's ruins on the eastern side (downstream end) of the island.This was dedicated to his friend, the martyr Adalbert of Prague; the name of St. Bartholomew was added only later. In the early 20th century, prior to the Fascist regime's restoration of ancient place names, the Tiber Island was called the Isola di S. Bartolomeo. Likewise, Cestius' Bridge was called the Ponte S. Bartolomeo.
The island is still considered a place of healing because a hospital, founded in 1584, was built on the island and is still operating. It is staffed by the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God or "Fatebenefratelli".The hospital was not built on the same spot as the temple, but stands on the western half of the island.
According to the documentary My Italian Secret, when the Nazis occupied Rome in 1943 and started rounding up the Jews, Dr. Borromeo, head of the hospital, invented a “deadly” and highly contagious illness he dubbed “Il Morbo di K” to keep the SS away and protect those Jews hiding inside the wards, just a stone’s throw from the Ghetto.
During summer, the island hosts the Isola del Cinema film festival.
The island serves as the player's headquarters in the 2010 action-adventure stealth video game Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood .
The Tiber is the third-longest river in Italy, rising in the Apennine Mountains in Emilia-Romagna and flowing 406 kilometres (252 mi) through Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio, where it is joined by the river Aniene, to the Tyrrhenian Sea, between Ostia and Fiumicino. It drains a basin estimated at 17,375 square kilometres (6,709 sq mi). The river has achieved lasting fame as the main watercourse of the city of Rome, founded on its eastern banks.
Asclepius or Hepius is a hero and god of medicine in ancient Greek religion and mythology. He is the son of Apollo and Coronis, or Arsinoe, or of Apollo alone. Asclepius represents the healing aspect of the medical arts; his daughters are Hygieia, Iaso, Aceso, Aegle, Panacea, and several sons. He was associated with the Roman/Etruscan god Vediovis and the Egyptian Imhotep. He shared with Apollo the epithet Paean. The rod of Asclepius, a snake-entwined staff, remains a symbol of medicine today. Those physicians and attendants who served this god were known as the Therapeutae of Asclepius.
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The Pons Sublicius is the earliest known bridge of ancient Rome, spanning the Tiber River near the Forum Boarium downstream from the Tiber Island, near the foot of the Aventine Hill. According to tradition, its construction was ordered by Ancus Marcius around 642 BC, but this date is approximate because there is no ancient record of its construction. Marcius wished to connect the newly fortified Janiculum Hill on the Etruscan side to the rest of Rome, augmenting the ferry that was there. The bridge was part of public works projects that included building a port at Ostia, at the time the location of worked salt deposits.
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The Pons Fabricius or Ponte dei Quattro Capi, is the oldest Roman bridge in Rome, Italy, still existing in its original state. Built in 62 BC, it spans half of the Tiber River, from the Campus Martius on the east side to Tiber Island in the middle. Quattro Capi refers to the two marble pillars of the two-faced Janus herms on the parapet, which were moved here from the nearby Church of St Gregory in the 14th century.
Ponte Sant'Angelo, originally the Aelian Bridge or Pons Aelius, is a Roman bridge in Rome, Italy, completed in 134 AD by Roman Emperor Hadrian, to span the Tiber from the city centre to his newly constructed mausoleum, now the towering Castel Sant'Angelo. The bridge is faced with travertine marble and spans the Tiber with five arches, three of which are Roman; it was approached by means of ramp from the river. The bridge is now solely pedestrian, and provides a scenic view of Castel Sant'Angelo. It links the rioni of Ponte, and Borgo, to whom the bridge administratively belongs.
Portus was a large artificial harbour of Ancient Rome. Sited on the north bank of the north mouth of the Tiber, on the Tyrrhenian coast, it was established by Claudius and enlarged by Trajan to supplement the nearby port of Ostia.
The Basilica of St. Bartholomew on the Island is a titular minor basilica, located in Rome, Italy. It was founded in 998 by Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor and contains relics of St. Bartholomew the Apostle. It is located on Tiber Island, on the site of the former temple of Aesculapius, which had cleansed the island of its former ill-repute among the Romans and established its reputation as a hospital, continued under Christian auspices today.
The Pons Cestius is a Roman stone bridge in Rome, Italy, spanning the Tiber to the west of the Tiber Island. The original version of this bridge was built around the 1st century BC, after the Pons Fabricius, sited on the other side of island. Both the pontes Cestius and Fabricius were long-living bridges; although the Fabricius remains wholly intact, the Ponte Cestio was partly dismantled in the 19th century, with only some of the ancient structure preserved.
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The Temple of Asclepius was an ancient Roman temple to Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine, on the Isola Tiberina in Rome.
Fatebenefratelli Hospital is a hospital located on the western side of the Tiber Island in Rome. It was established in 1585 and is currently run by the Brothers Hospitallers of Saint John of God. The hospital is known for having sheltered Jews during the Holocaust by diagnosing them with a fictitious disease called "Syndrome K".
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Rome:
The Temple of Aesculapius located in the gardens of the Villa Borghese, in Rome, was built in the ionic style between 1785 and 1792 by Antonio Asprucci and his son Mario Asprucci, with help from Cristoforo Unterperger. The temple was perhaps built in memory of the destroyed ancient temple to the god of Medicine on the Tiber Island.
In Ancient Rome, the Ager Vaticanus was the alluvial plain on the right (west) bank of the Tiber. It was also called Ripa Veientana or Ripa Etrusca, indicating the Etruscan dominion during the archaic period. It was located between the Janiculum, the Vatican Hill, and Monte Mario, down to the Aventine Hill and up to the confluence of the Cremera creek.
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