Centocelle, Italy

Centocelle Archaeological Park (Rome, IT)

 The Rome CHL, named Centocelle is part of the urban area corresponding to the so-called South-East Co-District of Rome. The area includes parts of several neighborhoods like Centocelle; Alessandrino and Torre Spaccata. The site is characterized by high levels of social and economic vulnerability within the City of Rome. The heritage site consists of: historical heritage; archeological remains; environmental heritage; built heritage. It has already created community gardens and taken legal responsibility in at least three sites adjacent to actual heritage sites.

One of the most important heritage sites of the co-district is the Public Archaeological Park of Centocelle, which is rich of archaeological finds of public and religious architecture of Republican Era, such as the ancient “Osteria di Centocelle” (an ancient buiding with a round-based hall covered by a dome of tuff and brick), two roman villas (Villa della Piscina and Villa ad Duas Lauros), the “Historical tunnel of Centocelle”, a structure that was supposed to be the first subway in Rome, and the landing strip from which the well-known aviators and inventors the Wright brothers experienced their first flight in Italy. The site was also relevant in modern times as the first airport in Italy was opened here in 1909.

Alongside historical and archeological heritage, the co-district is rich in cultural and creative heritage. There is a public library, the Rugantino library, surrounded by a green area and posed in front of a privately-owned wide park, the “Pratone” and there are green spaces within public spaces such as squares and schools that are very important as social infrastructure and places where the inhabitants self-organize cultural meetings and creative exhibitions.

The heritage site has a very high value for a variety of actors: heritage communities, local regional and national level, supra-national level. The local community, supported and enabled by the action-research carried out by the LUISS CHL team takes care of the heritage of the Co-District with constant monitoring activities, heritage-led actions, cooperative place making activities, heritage walks and building narratives (unique stories of individuals and groups or emblematic places that nurture the very essence of heritage communities).

Aims:

  • To create a community-based revitalization model of the heritage site.
  • Using urban green spaces as environmental social infrastructures that build connections within the tangible and intangible heritage sites within the co-district.
  • To create a new entry point to the Centocelle Park from the abandoned former fuel station.
  • Collaborative neighborhood services.
  • Integrated sustainable tourism.
  • Target the most vulnerable social groups.
  • Develop a crowdsourcing framework to engage the community.
  • Crowdfunding campaign to contribute to the conservation of the ruins and maintenance of the Park.
  • Increase of visibility of the cultural heritage.

Challenges:

  • State of access to the ruins: now it’s only partially accessible to the public.
  • Environmental: the green area and infrastructure is generally in very bad condition.
  • Social and geographical: the surrounding area has a marginalized character with negative stereotypes and bad self-image.
  • Economic problems: the population in the area has been badly affected by the economic crisis and the general problems of the Italian economy.