The Sleeping Beauty of the Tiber river

Rosa was found after six months and she looked like she was just asleep the whole time.
Rosa was found after six months and she looked like she was just asleep the whole time.

Rosa Bathurst was a beautiful 16 years old girl from a noble English family. In 1824 she was staying with her uncles in Rome. She was a charming and intelligent girl, full of life, always attending social events and therefore well known and admired by everyone.

Fatal riding

In the morning of March 16, 1824, Rosa and a small group of people went on a riding trip out of town along the banks of the Tiber river. The river was full of water because of the heavy raining during the night, making the path at its banks muddy and slippery. At one point, Rosa`s horse slid on the slippery ground and began falling towards the river with Rosa still on his back. Although Rosa was an excellent rider, she could not manage the situation and fell into the cold river along with her horse.

She was seen struggling among the icy waves, with no possibility of assistance, since no one in the group was good at swimming. One of those present tried desperately to grab her hand from the bank, but with no success. Rosa disappeared almost immediately, swallowed by the mighty river, with her hat tied with ribbons under her chin and her long blue robe wrapped around her. Her horse emerged nearby and managed to gain the shore, but there was no trace of Rosa.

Power of the river

The young man who tried to save Rosa left Rome and went to England, but the thought of the event was hunting him. After six months he returned to Rome, to see once again the scene of the accident. On his way back, he noticed a small blue cloth on the opposite bank of the river. It was Rosa, buried under a thick layer of river silt.

When Rosa was pulled out of the silt, no one could believe their eyes. The conservative capacity of the river silt was so powerful, that she looked completely intact. She was still as beautiful as she was on the day of the accident. Besides a slight wound on her forehead it seemed like she was just sleeping all this time, waiting for someone to wake her up.

A story that lives on

The story of Rosa`s tragic death and her intact beauty filled urban news and inspired many portraits, stories and novels later on. Allegedly it is also the topic of an Italian song called the Marinella's song (La canzone di Marinella), written by a famous Italian singer and songwriter Fabrizio De André.

Destiny symbols

Today, Rosa is buried in the Non-Catholic Cemetery in Rome (Italy). On her tomb, there is a magnificent relief of her, emerging from the Tiber river and being received by an angel. It is a typical example of a destiny symbol that reveals a tragic end of a life path.

Contact us and let us now if there are some destiny symbols at your local cemetery and what is the story behind them.

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