Casilino 700 & 900

Author:Alessandro LanzettaAuthor: Stefano Montesi

Two historically important Roma settlements were established along via Casilina. Both encampments have since been destroyed: Casilino 700 by the left wing city government in the year 2000 and Casilino 900 by the right wing city government in 2009. Both were inhabited predominantly by Roma families from the former Yugoslavia. Casilino 900 founded in the 1960s had initially been a shanty town inhabited by impoverished Italians who gradually were replaced by Roma. Casilino 700 was “founded” in 1991, when Montenegrin and Bosnian families settled onto an open area of the former military F. Baracca Airport. Roma families built homes freely on the 34 hectares of space using discarded materials. The encampment had no infrastructure of any sort for its 1,200 inhabitants (which included 200 Moroccans who were sharing the space with the Roma) other than a school bus service, six chemical toilets, and a daily supply of 6,000 litres of water. This situation remained unchanged from January 1991 until the final eviction in July 2000.

According to the regional law 82/85 of Lazio Roma encampments were built in order to “protect” the traditional lifestyle of the Roma, who were considered a nomadic people. Today the settlements, whether authorised or unauthorised, represent the most advanced form of hyper-ghetto to be found in Italy. International institutions condemn Italy for the practice of encampments; however, it was the Italian Sinti (a sub-group of the Roma) who successfully requested that the concept of “micro areas” for Sinti people be included in the Italian National Roma Strategy.

The residents of Casilino 700 were evicted in order to make room for a public park, because archaeological artefacts were discovered at that location. However, the park was never developed, and the area today is barren and desolate. The Roma who were living at Casilino 700 and 900 have moved to other encampments. Some live at via Salviati 2, others are scattered around Rome in a never-ending circle of evictions and displacements.