Rome’s Best Urban Renovation of 2012? Ostiense. Let’s See Why!
The word Ostiense means from Ostia, ancient Rome’s harbour. Here is the EatalyRoma terminus of the Rome-Ostia railways, here there is also a train station with regional and interregional connections and here there is a line B underground stop called Piramide. This area has always had a very important logistics role. It is no coincidence that Rome’s wholesale market, Mercati Generali, is here. But it was also an industrial and energy hub in the late 19th/early 20th centuries (see the natural gas structures characterizing the skyline of this area).
In 1990, for the soccer World Cup, a train link with Rome’s Intercontinental airport Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci was created here. And the abandoned hangar-shaped space that once was its Rome terminus, marked the rebirth of this area. Here is where EatalyRoma decided to set up its worldwide biggest store. Read article here, watch pictures in this album.
Right next to it, in the Ostiense train station, the new train company NTV, the only private railways corporation in Europe, established its other Roman headquarters. Italo will depart from here too, not only from Tiburtina. See story here.
These two major events for the Ostiense borough took place the same week. A few hours afterwards, the Ostiense bridge was finally inaugurated. At the end of 3 years of works for an expense of 15 million euro, this white-winged fancy facility with a strong Spanish contemporary influence will connect the two areas of the neighbourhood previously separated by the railtracks.
But Ostiense started its new life well before Eataly, NTV or the new bridge. The highest concentration of houses and offices renovated by architects and open to the public for the Open House event was in this area.
Some of the best graffiti in town are here: in via dei Magazzini Generali.
And nightlife has been vibrant here at least since the mid 1990s, especially around via di Libetta, with some of the most renown dance clubs, like Goa.
The industrial and logistics past of this part of town can still be seen in some of its landmarks. Centrale Montemartini is an old power plant now hosting an ancient sculpture museum which we strongly recommend you to visit for the striking contrast between industrial and Roman archeology.
While kids will love the old tram and trains park, the Parco Ferroviario, located next to the Roma-Lido line terminus.
Another major culture institution of this area is Officine Fotografiche, a photo gallery, school, exhibition centre and conference venue.
Finally, we would like to mention a special place of this area. The kind of thing you wouldn’t expect in a city like Rome: the Non-Catholic Cemetery, very close to the Pyramid and bordering the Testaccio area. The Romantic poets Shelley and Keatswere buried here. According to Oscar Wilde, “the holiest place in Rome.”