We continue our journey through the most picturesque and romantic places of Rome, between history and legends. Among today’s places, some are guardians of vows of love while others of vows of honesty. Let’s discover them together!
4. The Milvio Bridge
This bridge has lived a new moment of celebrity in 2004 with the release of the Italian Movie for teenagers “3 meters above the sky”, by Federico Moccia. The movie traces the tradition of young couples in Rome, and elsewhere, to seal their vows of love with a padlock hooked on the bridge’s grates and the posts. The movie revived the fashion so strongly, that the Roman administration had to start removing the hundreds of padlocks that appeared continuously, month after month, on the bridge with serious consequences to the monumental integrity.
5. The Tiber River Walk and Tiber Island
The Roman river Tiber offers many stretches perfect for romantic walks in the moonlight, perhaps followed by a nice dinner in one of the many delicious restaurants and trattorias of the area. However, the River Tiber, is particularly attractive in the part that looks over the Tiber Island, a long 985-foot stretch of land (about 300 meters). There are many legends on the island, but the most credible reports that it was built in the image of a ship.
During a plague, in fact, a ship was sent from Rome to Epidaurus, Greece, in the temple of the God of Medicine Aesculapius; while returning to Rome, crossing the river Tiber, legend has it that one of the sacred snakes of the greek temple that was aboard the ship jumped on the Tiber Island. As a result of this “Sign from the Gods”, on the Island, it was erected a temple dedicated to Aesculapius, and legend has it that since then the plague would have disappeared.
Historical drawing of Tiber Island
6. The Mouth of Truth
It is an ancient marble mask, initially used as a manhole (often manholes in Rome portrayed deities swallowing rain water), since 1632 it has been walled in the porch of the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Rome with the restoration wanted by Pope Urban VIII Barberini.
There are various interpretations on the identity of what is universally known as the “Oracle of Rome”: Jupiter Ammon, the God of the Oceans, an Oracle or a Faun (a mythological half human–half goat figure). The current name of the “Mouth of Truth” is from 1485 and was passed on century after century. According to one of the many legends, the mask was built by Virgil the Grammarian, the poet of Mantua, as a tool for couples seeking to expose their partner’s infidelity.
Vacanze Romane, William Wyler, 1953