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Tiber River Sightseeing Cruises

Battelli di Roma Boats on the Tevere

The Tiber (Tevere in italian) is Rome's answer to the Thames, the Seine, or the Hudson--or maybe those rivers are the answer to the Tiber, which was already an important commercial waterway more than 2,000 years ago, during the Roman Republic and the early years of the Roman Empire.

ABOVE: The Cornelia, a sightseeing boat that carries 102 passengers, cruises along the Tevere on a warm day in early September.

Battelli di Roma tour boatIn its heyday, the Tiber (Italy's third-longest river) was navigable for a distance of 100 km or 60 miles from the Tyrrhenian Sea and the port of Ostia. Over the centuries, the shallow river became clogged with silt, and port activities moved to the seacoast. The Tiber nevertheless remains  deep enough in Rome (a 3.5 to 5.5 meters, or 12 to 18 feet) to accommodate sightseeing boats--most notably the fleet of Battelli di Roma, which offers cruises on the river year-round.

Battelli di Roma offers three basic itineraries:

  • A "Hop-on, Hop-off" cruise with two boarding and disembarkation points: at the foot of the Sant'Angelo Bridge (across from the Castel Sant'Angelo), and at Isola Tiberina or Tiber Island, near the Trastevere district. The cruise includes an audioguide in seven languages, departs at intervals of 35 to 60 minutes (depending on the season),  and lasts one hour.

  • A Dinner Cruise on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays in high season (mid-April to late October) and on Friday or Saturday from December 1 to mid-April. The cruise leaves the Sant'Angelo boat landing at 9 p.m. and lasts about 2 hours 10 minutes.

  • A Wine Bar Cruise of 2 hours 15 minutes on most Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, departing from Ponte Sant'Angelo at 9 p.m. The cruise includes a glass of wine, cold cuts, and dessert.

In addition, Battelli di Roma sometimes runs cruises to the ruins at Ostia Antica (2 hours away by boat), as does Gite sul Tevere, which also has a cruise to the ancient Roman Port of Trajan.

For Battelli di Roma cruise timetables, fares, and boarding advice for disabled travelers, visit www.battellidiroma.it.

To view photos and a video of the company's tour boats, go to page 2 of this article.

Next page: More Battelli di Roma photos


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