The place is characterized by the presence of ancient settlements from the Roman era: Villa Papareschi, on the right bank south of the park, composed of five suburban thermal environments with walls that reached the river bank to create a “swimming pool” and, an ancient Roman landing place, also used by the Popes to reach the adjacent Basilica of San Paolo.

The modern era, however, has transformed a piece of cultivated countryside (with Tamarisks according to nineteenth-century maps) into a new “part of the city”, densely inhabited and connected by the new Marconi bridge to the historic center.

The new modern city did not consider the floodplain as a resource but as a mere hydraulic problem to be contained and this situation made this space for decades “a backside space”, a place of degradation and abandonment: an open-air landfill in the city, with unhealthy and polluting illegal settlements.
Therefore, the first operation carried out by the Lazio Region was the site remediation (removal of 350 tons of waste and 150 tons of earth mixed with waste) and an important capping operation with the silty material deposited by the floods in the lower floodplain.

Rome has always been a “water city”, characterized by the presence of two rivers and a rich hydrographic network that connects it to its coastline. Since 2007 the city has been witnessing a progressive rediscovery of its rivers and their valorization, also thanks to the action of numerous associations of citizens and scholars.

The park is part of the general Masterplan of the urban stretch of the Tiber, the main water, nature and cultural infrastructure of the Capital.

The aims of the project are:
– reconstruct the strategic role of the river for the city for its microclimatic regulation and connective, functional, ecological, cultural and sports-recreational quality;
– strengthening the ecological network;
– highlighting the connections with sports areas to offer itineraries and spaces for well-being;
– mitigate and combat/adapt to climate change, also for neighboring areas;
– identifying strategic and priority areas and projects to be implemented with special resources and through adequate planning.

The place and its form are the result of historical transformations and stratifications that occurred on the site which were assumed in the project as a topographic and figurative matrix for the conformation and organization of the spaces. The irregular and discontinuous planimetric design of the central draining pavement was also defined according to this criterion, following the morphology of the place and articulating the space for different activities. The design of the place proposes a sort of collage of fragments, as a memory of the pre-existing fragmented deposits, transported by man or by the river.

Moreover, the spatial and functional organization of the park arises from the topography of the place:
– the plateau adjacent to the Lungotevere di Pietra Papa becomes a belvedere, a filter zone from the city overlooking the river;
– the equipment and main interventions for the meeting space of the inhabitants were concentrated in the high floodplain, connected by a single path that harmonically mends them together, allowing people with disabilities to reach every area of the park and offering a promenade through the different areas of the park;
– the low floodplain has been cleaned and renovated, it houses very little equipment to offer a place of maximum “naturalness” and direct comparison with the riparian biodiversity.

The design for Marconi Park shows the need to transform urban spaces in this era of strong social, economic and environmental change. It was essential to think of a unique transformative process capable of redefining the relationships of the ‘living’ (humans, plants and animals) in the city of Rome.These places are designed to preserve nature, improve ecosystem metabolism but also for the quality of life of the inhabitants of a densely built city who, however, must also learn to preserve natural places, understanding their delicate balance. The result, almost a year after opening, is surprising and sees differentiated use at various times of the day, with a population of different ethnicities, ages and cultures, with an almost excessive influx in the afternoon and evening hours and on weekends.

It was fundamental to reconquer a “socially dead” place of degradation and pollution, bring it back to life for the people and the varied riparian biodiversity and reconnect the city to its river, which until recently was rejected and unknown.

Location: Lungotevere di Pietra Papa, 00146 Roma RM – Italy

Design year: 2020

Year Completed: 2023


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