For me, this is one of the most intriguing neighbourhoods in Rome. It takes the form of a single, narrow street, with houses tucked between railway lines and an ancient Roman aqueduct. It feels invisible to the rest of the city, and forgotten by the modern age. As you walk in the shadow of the aqueduct, you catch glimpses of ramshackle rooftop terraces, washing lines and workshops. There are profusions of cactuses, a garden full of statues, and a small shrine high in the aqueduct wall. You suddenly find yourself on a bridge, watching a train disappear beneath your feet, and then walk on, the only pedestrian.
There’s no real reason to visit Via Casilina Vecchia. No shops or bars, no monuments apart from the aqueduct. It doesn’t lead anywhere. But it’s a fascinating mix of an authentic Roman neighbourhood, ruins and industrial wasteland, with some cactuses and umbrella pines thrown in. If you’re looking for the atmosphere of Rome “di una volta”, you’ll find it here.
(A word of warning – personally, I wouldn’t walk here after dark. There aren’t many people around, and the road has some narrow pavement-less stretches.)