Testaccio is an urban district within a stone’s throw from the historical centre of Rome.

It houses a number of famous Classical monuments, such as the Cestian Pyramid, the Monte Testaccio and the Porticus Aemilia. In ancient times the area was the river harbour of the city. In the early 20th century it was coveredby blocks of flats, accomodating the labourers, so crucial to Rome’s city development. Modern Testaccio is an urban landscape in flux, which poses major challenges to its built heritage, especially when viewed in its broadest sense, including Classical monuments as well as industrial buildings and ‘palazzi’.

How can the tensions between heritage management and urban renewal be resolved? Can history and heritage contribute to sustainable social and economic development? These and other questions are central to the project Challenging Testaccio of the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma (SSBAR), the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR) and the Faculty of Humanities of the VU University Amsterdam.

The project brings together researchers from Italy, the Netherlands and other countries, working, amongst others, on the creation of a Spatial Data Infrastructure, excavations and archival research of the Porticus Aemilia site and valorization and redevelopment plans. The final aim is to investigate the urban landscape as a palimpsest of closely interwoven histories and to study how these can be integrated into the modern city.


The Challenging Testaccio Project is directed by:

Renato Sebastiani (SSBAR) and Gert-Jan Burgers (VU University Amsterdam).

IMG 3075-bewerkt

IMG 0666