Rome Parco Torre Fiscale Aqueduct

Tuscolano District in Rome – Modern Art And Ancient Ruins

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A journey to discover the south area of Tuscolano, a roman district that mixes modern and ancient culture.

The article continues to explore the Tuscolano neighborhood in the southern area, after the northern area was described in a previous article Tuscolano District In Rome – Enjoy The Lively Cultural Environment. We therefore recommend reading the article dedicated to the northern part of the neighborhood before this post.

rome tombs via latina

In particular, we remember that the previous article described the elegant northern part of the neighborhood, extending up to the area served by ‘Furio Camillo’ metro A. This post begins its journey from the area around the “Arco di Travertino” station.

The Archaelogical areas

Travertine Arch

Once, I went to work in front of the “Arco di Travertino” stop. The area appeared to be very peripheral, full of offices and a few houses, not very in tune with the rest of the neighborhood. From the subway, I crossed a large car park which at the time seemed semi-deserted to reach the road. Along the road, institutional buildings and large kebab restaurants were situated, including the famous Ali Baba.

rome arco travertino linear park

When I returned with my wife, we wandered along the Arco di Travertino linear park. The park appeared to us as a strange place, where the modern parking structure blends with a long and narrow green area. In the center, there is an ellipse-shaped track on which children walk, run or cycle.

rome parco lineare arco travertino

Via Arco di Travertino is wide and long. It connects the Via Appia Nuova and the Via Tuscolana precisely where these two important roads diverge. In this area, both streets have significant archaeological remains.

arco travertino linear park tree

South of via Arco di Travertino, near the via Appia Nuova, a traveler can visit the archaeological park of the Tombs of via Latina. This is a small archaeological park with free entry, where the traveler can walk along 500 m of an ancient Roman road, surrounded by tombs dating back to around 2,000 years ago.

Tombs of via Latina

Ancient times

The ancient Romans built the Via Latina a few centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ. The road stretched to the city of Capua, in today’s Campania. During the first centuries AD, some nobles used this area as a burial place.

tombe via latina sunset rome

In the 19th century, the Vatican authorities authorized the teacher Lorenzo Fortunati to lead the archaeological excavations. Unfortunately, Lorenzo Fortunati showed his greed, because he sold numerous artifacts and damaged some tombs in search of precious material.

rome tombs via latina cobblestones

Later, the Italian state conquered Rome and included the tombs of via Latina within the large Appia Antica Archaeological Park.

rome tombs via latina entrance

Moden times and the visit

Even today, the Tombs of Via Latina are included in the Appia Antica Archaeological Park. Anyone who wants to visit the inside of the tombs must buy a ticket and book by sending an email to the address:

rome tombe via latina sunset

The ticket costs 8 euros and is valid for three days for all the archaeological remains present along the Appia Antica.

rome tombs via latina park

We visited the park on a warm October evening, as the sun was setting over the city. The warm colors were reflected on the rock slabs that made up the ancient path. Screams of boys and children came from the nearby football field.

rome via latina sunset clouds

There are three tombs that are best preserved and accessible to the public. At the beginning of the park, the traveler encounters the Barberini tomb, a two-storey pillar that houses the underground hypogeum where the deceased were buried.

rome via latina barberini tomb

At the end of the park, you come across the tombs of the Valeri and that of the Pancrazi, located on opposite sides of the road.

rome via latina valeri tomb

The Pancrazi tomb is not visible from the outside, because it is covered by a modern structure that is very unsuitable for the area. The Valeri tomb instead has an interesting and persuasive nineteenth-century covering, decorated with two splendid columns.

rome tombe via latina shoes

Porta Furba

To the north, via Arco di Travertino flows into via Tuscolana. Here, it is possible to continue the journey in the Tuscolano neighborhood. While the Via Appia thins out, leaving room for offices and shopping centres, the Via Tuscolana intertwines with the route of the Metro A.

Going up Via Tuscolana, the traveler comes across the Porta Furba. It is not a real entrance gate to the city because the authorities built the large arch to let the Felice aqueduct pass over Via Tuscolana.

The arch appears as a monument dating back to the Roman Empire, but it is a more recent work. The authorities built Porta Furba in the 16th century, when Pope Sixtus V realized that the previous water system was not sufficient to supply Rome. The pope therefore decided to build the Felice aqueduct which took water from the Zagarolo countryside and brought it to Rome.

If the traveler leaves via Tuscolana, deviating towards via dell’acquedotto Felice, he will come across one of the best Roman parks, the Torre del Fiscale park. The park has extreme historical importance and is included in the protected area of the Appia Antica Regional Park. Seven aqueducts converge here.

Parco della Torre del Fiscale

The authorities built most of the aqueducts one on top of the other, so much so that the traveler can only distinguish two of them. The most recent aqueducts have in fact overlapped with the ancient routes of the Claudian aqueduct and the Martian aqueduct.

rome tor fiscale roman aqueduct

In particular, the splendid Felice aqueduct, from the Renaissance period, follows the route of the Marcio aqueduct.

rome parco torre fiscale path

At the meeting point between the two structures, there is the thirty meter high tower that gives the park its name. The tower was a defensive structure built in the 13th century.

rome tor fiscale park arches

Later, the citizens gave the tower the name “del Fiscale”, because the area belonged to the papal treasurer, a position also known as “fiscal”. In addition to the tower, remains of historic homes and tombs surround the area.

rome parco torre fiscale bench

In 2000, the mothers and women of the neighborhood formed an association to recover and enhance the park. The Municipality granted the management of the park to the association in 2003.

rome tor fiscale park sun

The Municipality has renovated the historic areas, while the association takes care of opening the gates, cleaning the areas, carrying out maintenance works, installing games, benches, vegetable gardens and trees.

rome parco torre fiscale play

Furthermore, the association used two farmhouses in the area to create a refreshment point and a museum. The museum has an information point where volunteers distribute material on the history of the park.

rome parco torre fiscale arch

Furthermore, the association organizes guided tours, workshops for children and many other events. In practice, the park is a clear example of re-appropriation of public land by the citizens, who actively manage to fill the institutions’ shortcomings.


Quadraro Raid

If the traveler continues along Via Tuscolana after Porta Furba, the road descends to reach the popular Quadraro area. The “Porta Furba” metro A station is located here. A friend of ours suggested we visit Quadraro on the anniversary of the main historical event that happened in this area. The roundup of 17 April 1944 in fact represents the largest roundup to have occurred in Rome, after that of the Jewish ghetto.

roma team quadraro mural supporters

In the Second World War, during the Nazi occupation of Rome, the Gestapo commander Herbert Kappler launched the “Whale” operation (Unternehmen Walfisch in German), with which he surrounded the entire Quadraro neighborhood to collect all the men of legal age working.

rome quadraro history raid crown

German soldiers rounded up 2,000 men, of whom 700 were deported to concentration camps in Germany and Poland, working in inhumane conditions. Only some of them returned home, on foot, bringing with them horrors and lethal diseases.

rome quadraro street art person

Il Gobbo del Quarticciolo

The roundup aimed to exhaust the Roman population, already shocked by the massacre in the Ardeatine Fosse, which occurred on the previous 24 March. In particular, the Nazis wanted to attack a neighborhood that was home to numerous elements opposed to the regime, mainly communist partisans.

rome quadraro tunnel mister thoms

Due to its ability to hide the regime’s opponents, the Quadraro was in fact called “The wasp’s nest”. At the time, it was said that anyone who wanted to escape from the Nazis had to take refuge in the Vatican (under papal authority) or in Quadraro.

rome quadraro street art mural

It is said that Kappler decided on the roundup after Giuseppe Albano killed three German soldiers. Giuseppe Albano is a mythical figure of the resistance against the Nazis, both for his numerous actions against the Germans at a very young age and for his physical appearance.

rome quadraro gender equality art

In fact, he had such a significant flaw that he was nicknamed “Il hunchback del Quarticciolo” (Quartcciolo’s hunchback). The Quarticciolo is the neighborhood north of the Quadraro where Giuseppe Albano created an important gang active in both partisan and criminal actions.



Today the Quadraro hosts the M.U.Ro. – Museum of Urban Art of Rome, widespread collection of street art, founded in 2010 by the artist Diavù.

rome quadraro diavu totobolik art

Diavù is a street artist who has been beautifying the capital since 1992 with his splendid murals created both on the walls and on the staircases.

rome quadraro mural gary baseman

Other artists also participated in the museum, such as Lucamaleonte who created the mural dedicated to the Wasp’s Nest, in order to mix modern art and historical memory.

rome quadraro lucamaleonte wasp nest

The museum presents itself as a canvas to be observed in the various streets that head north from Quadraro, up to Torpignattara. Smaller paintings alternate with works of strong impact, such as the Wasp’s Nest or with an aggressive face drawn at the exit of a tunnel by the artist Mr. Thoms. Furthermore, in via dei Lentuli, you can find a painting by Paolo Pietrangeli as well as the Kazakh artist Dilka Bear, who takes inspiration from masters such as Bosch and Bruegel.

rome quadraro dilka bear art

In largo de’ Quintili you can find the painting “Buckingham warrior (for Q44)” created by the famous artist and cartoonist Gary Baseman. Baseman was born in Los Angeles (US) by a Jewish couple who survived Holocaust and he defines himself as an artist who explores the beauty of the bittersweetness of life through different kind of visual arts. He is mostly known as creator of the animated series “Teacher’s Pet” thanks to it he won an Emmy and a BAFTA award.

rome torpignattara atoche song siren

If you reach the center of Torpignattara following via Porta Furba from the metro station Arco di Travertino, you will be able to see some grandiose murals present at the intersection of via di Tor Pignattara, via Pietro Rovetti and via Ciro da Urbino.

rome torpignattara atoche street art

These murals are beautiful because the color blue stands out. Carlos Atoche, an artist born in Peru in 1984 but who immigrated to Rome early, created these murals.

rome torpignattara atoche crossroads blue

Torpignattara is the most chaotic area of the Tuscolano district. Here there is a cultural melting pot that makes the area lively and interesting, but you often have to be careful. In particular, you cannot get distracted by the intense, confusing and chaotic car traffic.

Parco Giordano Sangalli

A little further south, there is a placid green area. The park is characterized by the presence of the ancient Roman aqueduct built by Emperor Alexander Severus. The Alessandrino aqueduct follows the elongated shape of the park and highlights its peace and hospitality.

rome parco sangalli history aqueduct

The area is dedicated to Giordano Sangalli, a young partisan born in this neighborhood and killed by the Nazis near Rieti during the Second World War.

rome sangalli park bike flowers

The Giordano Sangalli park hosts the Recherche space, an industrial warehouse dedicated to performing and digital arts. Here many artists can experiment with their theatrical and artistic ideas.

rome parco giordano sangalli arch

I had the opportunity to visit it one evening in May, when an actress and theater director friend of mine, whom I hadn’t seen in many years, presented a show of hers. I was sitting directly inside the scene sipping a good cocktail, when the show reminded me of all the expressiveness of art.

parco sangalli free little library

Even though I like to write in a didactic way, I really appreciated a show that gains strength in fragments, like when it shows a woman walking around while an apple keeps falling from her hand. The show involved me directly, when my friend called me to dance, while the other actresses invited other spectators.

rome sangalli park nest sky

After the show, my friend pointed out to me that I satisfied her artistic needs, because that scene was really meant for dancing with someone we hadn’t seen for a long time. I and the other spectators left the room completely emotional.

rome sangalli park roman aqueduct

Two little parks

On the morning of January 1st, after the New Year’s Eve party, my wife and I decided to record a small promotional video for my novel. To film it, we went in search of a park in the Quadraro area.

rome giardino ciliegi fox art

We first stopped in the cherry orchard, a small green area nestled between the houses. When we ventured inside, we realized it was too busy to record video.

rome giardino ciliegi playground area

So, I started playing ball with a little boy of African origin who immediately took a liking to me.

rome parco nicolo blois path

Afterwards, we went to Nicolò Blois park, separated by a railway line from the Torre del Fiscale park.

rome parco nicolo blois playground

The park is a long and narrow green area characterized by a large wooden gazebo, which contains a strange table on which a chessboard is drawn.

rome nicolo blois park benches

Here we recorded the video, being careful not to be disturbed by the passing trains.

Written by Enrico, translated by Hua ,and photos from Hua

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