Location: Rome, Italy

Rome Prize Fellowship awarded in 2002 to William H. Fain by the American Academy in Rome

The goal of the work is to offer a vision of an active Tiber River basin in which strategic modifications to the riverbanks and walls can better connect the River to the everyday life of the city, and recommend realistic interventions that address the issues posed by the proposed modifications.

The study conceptualizes a framework in which to view potential improvements to the River; this approach is at times opportunistic in identifying potential river improvements and benefits, ranging from small-scale, incremental developments to aggressive, large -scale urban renewal to accomplish these goals. The interventions include: park or greenway connections, river adaptations to promote boating, modifications to the bulkhead to allow river access, new bridges, new cultural projects that help to activate the river-side, and urban mixed-use zones that help to support an active River Basin over the long-term.

The proposal identifies three key areas to study, located at three important bends in the river as it passes through Rome. These areas are: Tiber Island and the area near the Piazza della Bocca della Verità, Castel Sant’ Angelo near the Vatican, and the Ripetta near the Ara Pacis and the Mausoleum of Augustus. Recommendations for these areas are structured to allow implementation in phases, recognizing limited resources and political support for some options.

The work recommendations include reducing the height of the flood walls by as much as two meters while maintaining a 100-year flood standard, breaking up the monotony of the existing flood wall with viewing terraces and socializing spaces, and connecting the upper and lower areas of the Tiber by providing a lock at Tiberina Island to make the river navigable again. Street-to-river stairs, new pedestrian zones, revised circulation, riverfront parks, and new land uses adjoining the river such as cafes and civic projects are components of the plan recommendations.

The study also explores Rome’s regional open space context and proposes a new open space and bikeway network, utilizing existing rights-of-way including rail and ancient Roman roads, e.g., the Appian Way, to make connections.