At 9.30am, on a sunny Saturday in May, a group of British Ex-pat members and their friends met up with Prof. Ferruccio Trabalzi for a tour of the Aqueduct Park along the Via Appia. Prof. Ferruccio is a professor of Sociology and Anthropology at The American University of Rome. His area of interest is Roman urban spaces and how they relate to identity and culture.
He explained how the aqueducts are an archaeological wonder and were able to sustain the growth of ancient Rome by supplying the city with a huge amount of fresh water unrivalled to other cities of antiquity.
The group was also introduced to the fascinating modern history of the aqueducts, namely, how the aqueducts were transformed into homes by Southern Italian migrants at the end of War War II until the mid-1970s when the slums were cleared and the residents relocated to Ostia Nuova.
Learning about this history highlighted the approach of the city of Rome towards its urban poor, an approach that is, still at the center of the Campidoglio’s current policies towards immigrants and Rom.