The Ruins of Rome from Living Places to Non-Places

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    • Presentation speakers
      • Fabrizio Federici, Independent Researcher


    From the beginning of 19th century, with the excavations and arrangements of archaeological areas realized or planned by French occupants in Rome, the practice of expunging ancient monuments and spaces from the contemporary city, removing in the meantime the elements linked to their recent history, became the main option in the arrangement of ancient presences in the urban space. The phenomenon, which found in Rome one of its main centres, but concerned also other Italian and European towns, had a strong acceleration in the fascist regime, when ruins were used in an ideological way, because Fascism wanted to reconnect itself to the grandeur of ancient Rome. In recent times, especially during the last decade, a reflection has been developed on the relationship between the archaeological area and the ancient monument, on the one hand, and the contemporary city, on the other, the role that ruins play in our society, the relationship between archaeology and architecture. It’s now time to tie again the wire of long-lasting practice of reuse, which has been cut by 19th-20th century archaeology; time to go back to a conception of ancient remnants not only as something to admire, but as spaces which can be lived, completely readmitted in the urban context. So we have to substitute the «public use of history» of the fascist age with the «public use of historical monument». Architecture is asked to make the reuse possible: the recent decision of reconstructing the arena of the Coliseum (followed moreover by a harsh debate) can represent a step toward the effective readmission of ruins inside contemporary city and perception.