Author:Alessandro LanzettaAuthor:Alessandro Lanzetta

The Pigneto neighbourhood was built between the end of the 19th century and the 1930s and is situated between the Casilina and Prenestina roads, two consular roads that lead from Rome’s city centre to the outskirts.

The neighbourhood is the result of a planned residential project created at the beginning of the last century for the railroad workers of the social cooperative “Termini.” In spite of this, the Pigneto is neither an architecturally nor an urbanistically homogeneous neighbourhood, but rather is the result of disordered and often illegal urban growth. Since its early years, the Pigneto has been characterised as a difficult, complex, and uneven neighbourhood, both in architectural and in social terms. During the 1950s, it received a large population of internal migrants from other central and southern Italian localities. More recently, the Pigneto became increasingly populated by migrants coming from other world regions, notably Senegal, China, Bangladesh, India, and Romania.

The Pigneto had a longstanding reputation as a poor, dilapidated area. Then, during the early years of the new millennium, in addition to the arrival of new types of inhabitants, the neighbourhood also was revitalised by the establishment of new shops and commercial activities aimed at the needs of the new, prevalently young and culturally active, resident population. Thus the Pigneto has become a trendy space in Rome, a place “where one wants to be and to live.”

The physical interventions and the social transformation are profound and absolutely interconnected. Projects of urban renewal, the restyling of public and private spaces, and new construction continue; as a side effect, they have instigated a rejuvenation of the population and a significant metamorphosis of the commercial landscape, which in turn led to a further substitution of the resident population. These deep-seated changes contributed to the shaping of a new image and a new local culture and substantially altered the way in which the neighbourhood is not only experienced, but also perceived within the city.

Monica Postiglione