Inspired by the French capital's long-running Paris Plage, Mayor Virginia Raggi plans to convert 10,000 square metres of the Tiber's banks into a sandpit for sweltering Romans.
“The Tiber runs through Rome but sadly, unlike many European cities, the river isn't a living, vibrant part of the city,” Raggi said at the project's unveiling on Thursday.
The temporary beach, to be located near the Marconi Bridge, is an effort to change that.
It will comprise a sports area and other attractions that the mayor hopes will “make the banks usable to Romans again”.
The banks of the Tiber are free of cars and, in central Rome, have a two-way bike path. In the summer months, cyclists and pedestrians are joined by a string of temporary outdoor bars.
The new beach, which will lie south of Rome's main tourist areas, could provide a welcome space for Romans to cool off in summer temperatures that have been known to hit 40 degrees Celsius, given that frolicking in the city's famous fountains is banned.
Photo: Antonello Nusca/AFP
It's not clear whether the beach will include a swimming area, though people have been known to dive into the Tiber – and survive – as part of traditional New Year's celebrations.
Raggi said it was part of a larger project to reclaim the Tiber, with other initiatives in the pipeline that range from developing an app to monitor pollution to sending police to patrol the banks by bicycle, and flying drones overhead to scan for waste dumping or other harmful activities.
“We want to restore decorum and liveability to the riverside,” the mayor said.
Raggi, who belongs to the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, has announced a number of attention-grabbing measures since taking office, including banning snacking near Rome's historic fountains, restricting outdoor drinking on summer nights and planning a 45-kilometre cycle highway linking some of Rome's most famous sights.