Flow River, Flow…

December 12, 2008 / Local Interest
Last Friday we ran a piece on the Tevere, Rome’s river, showing it in its everyday normal state…. unobtrusively burbling through town as it has since the muraglioni (embankments) were built (1876-1900, mostly).

The muraglioni were put up because three or four times every century, the Tevere would go from being a contained, navigable, and thus economic life-line for Rome to being an unruly beast which would flood the city and cause all sorts of damage, diseases included. Just to give an idea, during the flood of 1870 the Tevere rose 17 meters… the flood basically reached the base of the Spanish Steps.

So no chance for danger anymore, right? Well… it has been raining heavily throughout Italy for the past three days. Over just a few hours on Wednesday night alone, (Dec. 10th, 2008), more rain fell on Rome than does on average during the entire month of December. The river has risen 16 meters (about 50 feet) already, and the majority of the rainwater upstream in the valleys, watersheds, and tributaries along its 250 mile length is expected to reach the city only this afternoon. (In a few hours from these photos.)

Here’s hoping the muraglioni were well built!


by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

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