Wednesday, April 24, 2013



Some days ago I took a long and free walk along the banks of the Tiber river which flows through the ancient heart of Rome toward the sea, only around 25 kilometres away. I followed the river course from the Vatican City downwards till the Isola Tiberina, the boat-shaped island which was once the location of an ancient temple to the Greek god of medicine and healing.

Water levels were still very high after the hefty rains of the past weeks and part of the banks submerged. Stone stairs connect the bridges to the banks which run along the basis of the tall walls. These stone embankments are about 12 meters tall and were built since the end of the 19th century to protect the city from the severe floods so frequent in the past.

The river banks are a sort of separate world in wintertime. High above, the busy city life, cars, people, buses. Down here almost nobody, discarded waste of every kind, trash, old rags, pavements heavily damaged by the water, naked branches, silence. In summer things change: structures are rebuilt, damages repaired, people stroll leisurely along the book stalls and the cafés.

I took a great number of photos not of the beautiful buildings high above, but of the vault of the bridges from below, of the trash, of the old food wastes, of the ravaged ferryboat piers, of the ruined bicycle path.

So this is going to be my conservation theme for the final wall-hanging, as discussed with Sian: the sad conditions of neglect of the Tiber in the very centre of Rome.

Here are drawings from some details and photos:

Drawing foto 2

Naked branches emerging from the muddy water

Drawing foto 3

A graffiti “embroidery” along one of the banks

Drawing foto 5 

Ravaged bicycle path

Drawing foto 4

Trash, rags, plastics

 Drawing foto 1
Drawing foto 7

Drawing foto 6

The multi-layered structure from down the bank

Drawing foto 9

Plastic bags trapped into the branches

Drawing foto 8


From another set of photos I painted the colours I saw

Tabella colori 1


Words suggested by Sian Martin

BW 5 BW 2
married, enclosed, rhythmical   …….. crushed, controlled, enveloped

BW 4BW 8
peaceful, soft, quiet, restful ……………………..controlled, strong, enclosed

BW 10BW 1
expelled, enclosed, separated, imprisoned ….. bend, separated, vigorous

BW 11  BW 9
frenzied, expelled, compressed ……………. bend, fast, vigorous, enclosed

Words which came to mind while looking at images collected

   BW 6BW 3
entwined, strong roots, world below -------------------------- hard and soft, solid and fluid, conflicting

BW 12      BW 18
gentle, imprisoned among branches, entwined, fragile cages --------------- gentle, rhythmical, fast, new life budding

BW 7 BW 13
confused, who knows?, afraid to get near ---------------- separated, parallel worlds, conflicting, alone in beauty

BW 14 BW 15
alone in beauty, graffiti embroidery, small world ------------- delicacy, spring coming, do not think too much

 BW 16 BW 17
layers of parallel worlds, unaware, shadow: shelter from life, arches like wombs, noise/silence, resilience strength (left)
underneath, forgotten, disrupt, crushed (right)

BW 23 BW 19
conflicting, delicacy of things forgotten, silence/noise (left)
still lagoon, softly remembering in the shade of your heart, in the warm pleats of your soul

BW 20 BW 21
vigorous, trust your strong roots, strong in current (left)
be strong when current draws you away, trust your strong roots, use what you can, do not think too much (right)

BW 22
unaware, cold and humid, winter at its end


  1. I always enjoy your blogposts. Although I'm working with paper and not with fabric I find inspiration here!
    best, Annie - the Netherlands

    1. Hi Annie! Thank you for stopping by. I love your books, I only wish I could understand Dutch ... So long Daniela

  2. Sounds like a wonderful walk. And what variety along the way. The simple markings are really interesting, even of rubbish. Best still are the responses to vocabulary.

    1. Hallo there! How are you? Am I going to see you at Summer School? I do hope so

    2. Absolutely, and looking forward to chatting again. Hope you're happily back on your e-bike.

  3. Some really interesting drawings,and a completely different view of Rome.I will look forward to how this develops.

  4. What a great set of exploratory sketches and photos. As usual you've approached the subject from a lateral viewpoint. Your sketches are wonderfully free and contemporary, I cant't wait to see where you go with this.