A Pedestrian Path Connecting Key Archaeological Sites of Rome is Coming Soon

| Fri, 04/12/2024 - 11:22
Imperial forum, Rome
Imperial Forum, Rome / Photo: Fabio Mancino via Shutterstock

Moving through Rome’s key archaeological sites isn’t always a walk in the park. But the Nuova Passeggiata Archeologica (New Archaeological Walk) project aims to change that in the next few years.

The goal of the €18 million initiative is to efficiently and sustainably link the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Baths of Caracalla and the Circus Maximus via a pedestrian-only ring, incorporating the Caelian, Palatine and Capitoline hills along the way. Rome-based architectural firm Studio Labics will oversee the design after their proposal was selected from a pool of about two dozen candidates.

Labics’ design will punctuate the cluster of sites with green spaces, raised walkways, lookout points and cycling paths. If the project clears all legal and feasibility checks, work could begin as early as September 2024. 

The hope is that the new route will not only make ancient Rome’s excavations more accessible, but will also help address issues of site security, preservation and overcrowding — something many Italian and European cities have been grappling with in recent years.

With visitors to the Colosseum in 2023 up 24% from the previous year, critics of the project worry that the plan will cause even more congestion and increase problems for Roman residents who are already dealing with the effects of over-tourism on their quality of life.

Authorities at the helm of the project — including Mayor of Rome Roberto Gualtieri, who previously said he hoped the walkway would be completed between 2025 and 2026 — are taking care not to position it as a mere fast-track way to visit the famous sites. At the presentation of Labics’ winning design last week, Gualtieri said that one of the initiative’s main objectives is to “return this place to the city, allowing Romans and visitors alike to enjoy its beauty [...]  It involves seeing this area as a wonderful space, to meet or take a walk.”