5 May 2017
"Navigare il Territorio"
The Archaeological Park of the Imperial Ports of Claudio and Traiano reopens to the public. Guided tours and workshops are scheduled for children and families in Fiumicino and Ostia.

Every weekend, as of Thursday, you can visit the only Roman port that remains intact to this day, thanks to “Navigare il Territorio”, a project of the Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche (Benetton Research Study Foundation), Aeroporti di Roma and Parco Archeologico di Ostia Antica (Ancient Ostia Archaeological Park) of the MiBACT with the collaboration of the Città di Fiumicino (City of Fiumicino), and the “Progetto Tirreno – Eco-Schools” school Network of Fiumicino.

The initiative, which is now in its third edition, has been further enhanced and expanded this year, thanks to the collaboration between all partners. There will be more opening days (until 26 November 2017)

and a greater number of schools involved: in addition to Fiumicino, the new edition also involves the main schools in Ostia.

The scheduled events include various initiatives for children and families: from creative workshops to English language courses, from yoga classes to team competitions, where they can free their creativity. It is a busy schedule of events for entertaining mums and children, organised outside of school hours.

Not to mention over 200 guided tours of the site, organised in both Italian and English in this edition.

The treasures of the Port will also be available for passengers at Leonardo da Vinci: a free shuttle service will be available during the site’s opening hours, operating from Terminal 3, Departures level, to reach the Archaeological Park in just a few minutes, directly from the airport. The service was also designed to benefit passengers in transit at Leonardo da Vinci who wish to enjoy their time between their arrival and departure flights, by visiting a historically and culturally significant site free of charge. Finally, a special information corner has been set up inside the airport to describe the specific features of the archaeological site o passengers and provide them with useful information on getting there.
The latest edition ended in October last year with around 20,000 visitors.

We are really proud of this initiative” said the CEO of Aeroporti di Roma, Ugo de Carolis, “it is unique of its kind due to its ability to positively integrate the most important public and private realities present in the region. The site” he continued “enables us to offer our passengers a dive into an ancient Roman port, a unique experience that no other airport in the world can offer. Partly due to this type of initiative, travellers have voted for us as the most popular airport in the whole of Europe”.

The Portus area, if well connected to the ancient site of Ostia, can help to build a different identity to the Fiumicino area, which is no longer an infrastructural periphery of Rome, but a place with a central focus and a vocation, capable of being more attractive to both residents and tourists. The Navigate the Territory project is a small step in this direction, which will be followed and increased” commented the Director of the Benetton Foundation, Marco Tamaro.

The Imperial Ports of Claudio and Traiano” said the Mayor of Fiumicino, Esterino Montinoare a unique archaeological heritage in the world. Since our establishment, we have focused on this site for new territorial development ideas, by involving our students in projects such as Article 9 and in cultural initiatives such as the Traianee, which open up this inestimable historical and environmental asset to the theatre and music.  It is our intention to continue the path we have taken, encouraging actions to enhance and promote the site each time an occasion presents itself, as well as supporting all those initiatives which, organised internally, help to spread the knowledge of this archaeological site throughout Italy and abroad”.

According to Mariarosaria Barbera, Director of the Ancient Ostia Archaeological Park, “the site of Porto, together with the entire Ostia Archaeological Park, gives those who visit the complex and fascinating image of an ancient city in its becoming, with the port infrastructure that have helped to make it the capital of the Roman world. The initiative is consistent with the purposes that the State pursues through the Archaeological Park, that is, to increase and enhance the educational feature of archaeological sites of exceptional importance for an increasing number of visitors, including children and young people at school, which is well linked to the site's landing function, more in connection with its neighbouring airport”.


The Imperial Port of Claudio and Traiano, information sheet

Considered one of the most important civil engineering works in the ancient world, with its famous hexagonal shape, the Port of Traiano enabled the contemporary berthing of around two hundred ships.

In the second century A.D., Rome reached one and half million inhabitants. It was the capital of a multi-ethnic empire, a political centre and the engine of a market that extended from the Atlantic coasts of Europe to the Arabian Peninsula. The strong demographic growth and consequent problems of supply prompted Emperor Claudio to build, as of 42 A.D., a new maritime port north of Ostia, in today’s Fiumicino.

The large port, almost 200 hectares wide, appeared to be very insecure. To resolve this situation, between 112 and 114 A.D., Emperor Traiano, had it redesigned by the famous architect Apollodoro di Damasco, who proposed to entirely excavate a new 32-hectare basin, creating the largest port in the entire empire.

The port, which is perfectly preserved, is now part of an archaeological and naturalistic park that allows you get close, by visiting the historic remains, and observe the bird life and many naturalistic varieties.

From the port to the park. The current landscape of the Port of Traiano
The Archaeological Park is a landscape of huge cultural and natural importance, in which the remains of the ancient port are linked to the arboreal heritage and reflections of water, in a harmoniously unity created by the traces of time and by the environment formed by the reclamation of the marshes in the early 1900s.

The rises on the sedimentation deposited over around two thousand years which, at the beginning of the modern age (15th century), was completely abandoned and had turned into a swamp. In 1924, Giovanni Torlonia, with the intention of transforming the site into model agricultural estate, reclaimed the area. The methods used were typical of Italy. The only aesthetic and geometric lines that could be recognised were those of rows of trees: plantain, cypress, lynx pine and eucalyptus along the avenues and around the Darsena.

The criterion adopted by the State for the intervention involving the re-habitation of the area as the Naturalistic Archaeological Park (1997-1998) was that of allowing the reading of the ancient port in respect and enhancement of the important vegetation heritage, promoting the natural evolution of the landscape. In the areas that were previously occupied by the sea, a low grass vegetation was chosen to allow the spatiality of the gaze and idea of the water in the port.

A similar approach, but with an almost opposite application, was adopted in the ancient Darsena, where the vegetation was kept as a marsh comprised of canes which, swaying in the wind, recalled the movement and sound of the sea. An important indicator is that of the lichen species. Bioindicators of air quality, both with their presence and, more so, with their absence, these species are able to provide important information of a park that constitutes the green lungs within a high anthropic area.