The Tiber is in flood

Somewhat over a century ago, had the Tiber River risen to its present height, the center of the City would have flooded.

In the centro you can find embedded in the walls of buildings, plaques indicating the height of the water in flood.  For example,

Today I received three shots of the river.

I may have in my years in Rome seen the Tiber higher, but not by much!

The Principe Amadeo bridge…

Not the barge jammed under the bridge.  The "Angel Bridge".

To give you some perspective, here is a shot of the river with its embankments at lower water.  You are looking from a different direction, but at the same bridge.


I remember that one of the very best things about the Tiber in flood is that the rats would leave the embankment and seek out the streets.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. MargoB says:

    So will this make it harder for someone to ‘cross the Tiber’? ;)

    Rivers flooding….kind of like something bigger, other, and unexpected taking over what was once familiar and ‘ours’ (the dry land). The mysterious overtaking the seeming mundane / commonplace.

  2. Jordanes says:

    I blame Global Warming.

  3. Rachel says:

    Neat pictures… when I read the title, I thought you meant it metaphorically :)

  4. Roland de Chanson says:

    Tiberisne inundat? Nos servent Sancti. Cadaver Formosi utinam in ripas ne eiciatur! Fortasse autem usque ad Ostiam iam ablatum est. Surrecto paululum magis flumine, pulchrae naumachiae spectaculum in amphitheatro Flavio noctu Saturni diei edetur! Vinum suum quisque ferat.

    (The Tiber in flood? Saints preserve us. Hope Formosus’ carcass doesn’t wash up on the banks. Though it’s probably down by Ostia by now. If the river rises any more, they’ll have a good old naval battle in the Colosseum Saturday night. Bring your own booze.)

  5. If you’d like to see why Rome did all the Tiber embankments, here’s a 19th C view of the Pons Fabricius, bridge to Tiber Island from Notre Dame’s architecture library’s lantern slide collection.

  6. Mary Ann, Singing Mum says:

    Please no more rat pictures. I’ll be able to pray in a more focused manner when my head stops itching from disgust. Eeeww.

  7. Balbino Katz says:

    Dear Father,
    Once unpon a time I can write : « Father, you are wrong ». It’s not a rat, it’s a Myocastor coypus or nutria, a large, herbivorous, semiaquatic rodent brought from South America. It’s excellent to eat (even if I wouldn’t devour one from the Tiber). I find a lot of those animals in Brittany and I cook them as rabbit, or better, as a hare.

  8. Derik Castillo says:

    I guess it is good to be in this side of the Tiber.

  9. Mark says:

    Most rivers look dirtier when the flood…

  10. Bo the Okie says:

    No offense Father, but I hope Balbino Katz is right, because if that is a rat…wow…

  11. Woody Jones says:

    Wonder who we have to thank for the capital improvements that keep the City safer? He who built the via della Conciliazione?

  12. John Anon says:

    Roland de Chanson me pulsat!!! ;)

    Roland tu es superbus!

    Tu locutus in lingua alius operor ignoro.

  13. Sid says:

    The river levees are so ugly in Rome — and so necessary.

  14. Roland de Chanson says:

    Gratias ob honorem tibi ago, John Anon. Me autem numquam superbum aestimari velim sed tantummodo antiquorum admiratorem laudatoremque apud istos illustrissimos submisse discentem.

    (Thank you for the compliment, John Anon. I would however never wish to be thought “superbus” but merely one who admires and praises the ancients at whose feet I have humbly learned.)

    NB: “superbus” can indeed mean “superb” but there is always that other meaning lurking behind the scenes, “haughty, arrogant, tyrannical”; Tarquinius Superbus was banished by the Romans who then established a republic. The word ever since stuck in the Roman craw, of plebs and patricians alike. But I still like it – it is French “superbe” which describes parfaitement everything from wine to women to song! And so je vous remercie encore une fois. ;-)

  15. REF says:

    Are you sure that’s a rat? Looks more like an otter. Look at the hind feet. I live in Chicago, we know what they look like – we have rats here (and big ones, too). [They are all rats of one kind or another.]


  16. Woody – the river embankments are a project of the Unified Italy – so anticlerical, but useful.

  17. Jane says:

    Having seen Rome in drier times, I can appreciate the gravity of the flooding.

  18. Margo says:

    Jane, what is this ‘gravity’ of which you speak? The Tiber was *rising*…


  19. John Anon says:

    Je plaisante.
    Non, pas vraiment ;)

    Ne preferisco parlare nella vera lingua della Chiesa (multi vescovi paralano italiano, ma quasi nessuno latino) ;). Comunque, il francese lo imparero fra poco, poi il latino, dopo tedesco.

    Per ora, mi sono impengato a parlare con le mani!!!

  20. John Anon says:

    En fin, el superbus iria del la manera positiva a la “Chanson de Roland” pero la otra manera iria a “Roland de Chanson”. ;)

    The game ends when you write out a response in Greek with side-to-side Hebrew translations. LOL!

  21. John Anon says:

    Espero que te haigas dado cuenta que hablo el idioma de Los Angeles!

  22. Derik says:

    Con todo respeto, Sr. John Anon, me gustaría llamar su atención al hecho de que la palabra ‘haiga’ no aparece en el diccionario de la lengua española, y que a pesar de ser relativamente común en los hispanoparlantes, es definitivamente un error. La palabra correcta es “hayas”.

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