Tiber Island, Rome Located on the southern bend of the Tiber River as it makes its way through the city of Rome, Tiber Island is a small boat-shaped isle that has been associated with healing since the era of the Roman Republic. The Island The Tiber Island measures about 270 meters (885 feet) in length and is 67 meters (220 feet) wide at its widest point. It is connected to the main land by two bridges: the Ponte Fabricio, which travels from the northeast part of the island to the Campus Martius; and the Ponte Cestio, which connects the island to the Trastevere on the right bank. These same two bridges have linked Tiber Island to the rest of Rome since antiquity, though only a few original parts of the Ponte Cestio remain. The creation of the Island Legend has it that Tiber Island was formed when Roman citizens expulsed the last of the Tarquin Kings (Tarquinius Superbus or Tarquin the Proud). In anger the insurgents threw wheat sheaves they had stolen from the king into the river. Dirt and silt accumulated around the wheat and soon formed an island. In reality however the island was formed long before the Etruscans ruled over Rome, probably by natural means due to the river becoming wider and its current less strong. Boat-shaped The island was important in the early Roman period since the it made crossing the river much easier.turkeyarena.com A travertine embankment wall built around the island in the shape of a prow and stern at each end gave it the appearance of a boat. That image was enforced even more when an obelisk was placed at the center of the island, acting as the ship's mast. Temple of Aesculapius In 293 BC, when Rome was hit by a terrible plague, Romans decided to build a temple in honor of Aesculapius, god of medicine and healing. Legend says that a snake taken from the original temple of Aesculapius slithered from onboard a ship and chose the island as the location for the temple, but it is more likely that the island was chosen because it was separate from the mainland and could not be reached by the plague. Following the completion of the temple to Aesculapius in 291 BC, other shrines were constructed on Tiber Island as well, including one to Tiberinus the river god and another to Bellona, a war goddess. In 998 AD, a new basilica, San Bartolomeo, was built over the ruins of the original Aesculapius temple and, in keeping with the island’s theme of healing, a hospital was built there in 1584 and still stands on the western part of the island.