Mandrione / Tor Fiscale

Author: Alessandro LanzettaAuthor: Christian Hanussek

The areas of Mandrione and Tor Fiscale are structured by aqueducts (Acquedotto Felice and Acquedotto Claudio) and are protected by numerous archaeological and landscape restrictions.

The housing emergency and internal migration that took place during and after WWII compelled thousands of people to seek temporary shelter in large cities. In Rome, rough shelters were built within the arches of aqueducts and used as homes by many families. The Mandrione was inhabited by refugees from the bombing of the San Lorenzo neighbourhood and by Italian Roma families. The Mandrione became the object of several anthropological studies, as well as a prized location for neorealist filmmaking. Even today, squatters occasionally reside within its aqueduct.

In the post war period, the inhabitants of Tor Fiscale built their own houses, schools, and shops, thus creating a borgata, or group of unauthorised buildings on land illegally parcelled into allotments. In the 1970s, around 200 residents were resettled into a new social housing complex built by the municipality. At that time, the unauthorised houses were demolished and the school and small shops were closed down. During the 1980s, illegal building activities increased and characterise Tor Fiscale to this day. Numerous commercial activities have emerged alongside the residential buildings in total absence of any rules or regulations and in spite of the fact that the neighbourhood is primarily residential.

Tor Fiscale, acknowledged as a zona ex abusive,* or “zone of formerly illegal construction,” has been included in a plan for urban renewal to create new services and refurbish the internal spaces of the neighbourhood; however, the plan has never been fully implemented.

The residents of both Mandrione and Tor Fiscale have demonstrated great capacity and impetus for self-organisation by establishing a number of committees and citizens’ associations. In Mandrione, such groups have achieved the creation of a green area with facilities – an important accomplishment considering the scarcity of public services. In Tor Fiscale, a public park of circa 28 hectares has been created and entrusted to the neighbourhood committee, “Comitato di Tor Fiscale.”* It nonetheless has been the source of tension and conflicts amongst local organisations.

Antonella Carrano