14 April 2016
“Navigare il territorio” begins
The archaeological park of the Imperial Ports of Claudius and Trajan reopens. Laboratories for schools and visits for passengers of Leonardo da Vinci airport are planned. The number of visitors in 2015 exceeds 10,000

Every weekend, starting from next Saturday and until 30th of October, it will be possible to visit the only Roman port to reach our times intact, from 11am to 6pm, thanks to Navigare il Territorio”, a Benetton Research Studies Foundation project organised and managed by Aeroporti di Roma and promoted by the special Coordination for the Colosseum and the central archaeological area of Rome; in collaboration with the City of Fiumicino and the “Progetto Tirreno – Eco-Schools” school network.

The significant results achieved in 2015, with over 10,000 visitors on the weekends motivated the decision for an earlier opening in April, so that the highest number of visitors possible is able to visit the archaeological park.

The "Navigare il territorio" programme envisages guided visits, laboratories and activities for families, small children and youngsters so that they may discover one of the most important archaeological sites of Ancient Rome. A variety of initiatives are on offer: from the library to tell the youngest about history and archaeology to tailor-made kids’ tours. The children from schools in the “Tyrrhenian Project” Network shall personally promote the guided tours especially for young children from 3 to 6 years old, assisted by specialised personnel from the Superintendence.

The Port’s treasures shall also be available to passengers from Leonardo da Vinci airport: indeed, on opening days a free shuttle will be operational from Terminal 3, Departures level, which reaches 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 want to use the time they have between their arrival and next flight to visit a site of great historical and cultural importance at no charge to them. A dedicated informatory corner has been outfitted, lastly, within the airport which explains the features of the archaeological site to the passengers.

With this second edition, "Navigare il territorio", thanks to synergy between public and private, collaboration between the world of infrastructures and transport and that of culture, continues its activity of valorising land and involving local communities, starting with the asset of youths at the Fiumicino school.  

All the materials of this initiative, including instructions on how to participate in free activities, are available from the sites and

The Imperial Port of Claudius and Trajan overview

Considered as one of the most important civil engineering works of the ancient world, with its famous hexagonal shape, the Port of Trajan allowed approximately two hundred ships to dock contemporarily.

In the 2nd century A.D., Rome reached one million and a half inhabitants, it was the capital of a multi-ethnic empire, the political and driving force of a market extending from the Atlantic coasts of Europe to the Arabian peninsular. Considerable demographic growth and consequent provisioning problems led the emperor Claudius to have a new maritime port built to the north of Ostia, where Fiumicino now stands, starting in 42 A.D..

This huge port, almost 200 hectares wide, proved, however, to have little safety. In order to solve this issue, emperor Trajan had it redesigned by the famous architect Apollodorus of Damascus, between 112 and 114 A.D, who proposed that a new 32-hectare basin was excavated entirely on dry land, thus creating one of the largest ports in the whole empire.

Perfectly conserved, that port is now part of an archaeological and naturalistic park allowing people to observe wildlife and several naturalistic species whilst visiting the historical remains.

From the port to the park. The current landscape of the Port of Trajan

The Archaeological Park is a landscape of enormous cultural and natural value, in which the remains of the ancient port are linked to the arboreous heritage and mirrors of water within a harmonic unit rendered evocative by the traces of time and an environment created with the clearance of swamplands in the early decades of the 1900s.

The park rises from the ground of sedimentation deposited over approximately two thousand years which, at the beginning of the modern age (XV century), had by then become completely covered in sand and transformed into swampland. In 1924 Giovanni Torlonia, in the intention of transforming the site into a model agricultural holding, cleared the area. The species used are those typical of Italy. The only recognisable aesthetic and geometric lines are those of the lines of trees: plane, cypress, pine, oak and eucalyptus along the avenues and within the Harbour.

The criterion adopted by the State for the intervention of reclassifying the area as a Naturalistic Archaeological Park (1997-1998) was that of allowing the ancient port to be interpreted in a context of respect and valorisation of the relevant heritage of vegetation, favouring natural development of the landscape. In areas where the sea once was, low lawn type vegetation was chosen to render a view of space and give the idea of water in the port basin.

A similar measure, however with almost the opposite application, was adopted in the ancient Harbour in which marshland formed of reeds was kept which, when waving in the wind, could remind one of the movement and noise of the sea. An important indicator is established by the species of lichens. Bio-indicators of the quality of air, both in relation to their presence, and all the more so, their absence, they are species capable of providing important information about a park constituting a green lung within a densely populated territory.