When we talk about Rome it is difficult not to think about its waters, from the Tiber to the beautiful fountains that adorn the cities. The original territory, where Rome was founded, was incredibly marshy, due to the continuous flooding of the Tiber, but the Romans, thanks to their ingenuity, were able to reclaim the area through sewers and drains and to obtain running water thanks to the complex hydraulic system of the aqueducts. The relationship between Rome and its waters begins from its origins and has represented for centuries the authenticity of the city.
The uncontrolled and immense growth of Rome, which occurred over the last 50 years, leads to a significant shift in urban infrastructure that has changed people’s attitude toward the water. This positivist approach to the construction of the modern city has contributed powerfully to the destruction, cancellation, alteration of many signs of the historical stratifications that derived their reasons, origins, and significant developments from the water factor.
The Romans, who over the centuries coexisted with water in a resilient and technological society, today they perceive it as a separate element from their everyday life, which indeed often causes incredible problems with heavy storms and flooding or a long period of drought.
The city today urgently needs to propose profound transformation to face the need for services and resolve issues brought by a developing populace and a modern lifestyle. The city needs to build its resilience in reacting to the social and ecological difficulties of its time while considering Rome’s really extraordinary nature. A uniqueness that must be protected and enhance.
This research aims to provide site-specific strategies to reveal, connect, preserve, and explore the existing water-based identity of Rome, meanwhile creating an adaptive and resilient system, that could reduce flood risk and create socio-ecological transformations.
Based on an in-depth study of the city in its various aspects - morphological, cultural, social, archaeological -the area of the historical center of the Palatine hill through to the Caffarella park has been chosen as study area. Along this axis the project defines “water-based” routes, which have the aim both to make known the ancient and modern water-based identity of the city and to solve the most serious problems of flooding and drought, creating public and green spaces available to citizens and tourists. Through the route, which begins in the Palatine area, in the urban heart of the city, the visitor will learn about an unusual and unknown history of Rome in which various modern and ancient elements take shape as part of a larger system. Visitors, both tourists and citizens, will understand the link between aqueducts, fountains and thermal baths but also the importance of more modern elements such as wetland, bioswales, watersquares, finally arriving at the end of the route at the Nymphaeum of Egeria at Parco della Caffarella, a place full of mystery and charm, surrounded by nature.
It is therefore thanks to these routes that the city and its citizens regain their water-based identity, in a project that leaves ample room for both educational and recreational moments, creating areas that restore the relationship between urban and nature.