Stet by Ria Bacon

Monday, June 20, 2005

Another Colosseo

Another Colosseo

A magnificent Roman monument, although you probably won't find it in any guidebooks to Rome. It's part of the abandoned gas works in the Ostiense neighbourhood near where I live. Other strange towers spiral up from the undergrowth and rusting gantries jut out over the sleepy green Tiber.

The whole area contains a number of relics from recent times: Mattatoio slaughterhouse in Testaccio, the general market, the Italgas complex and Montemartini power station, all in Ostiense, and all of them worth preserving, as much as more famous monuments in the Centro storico (historical centre). Big plans are underway ...

The slaughterhouse has already been converted into a mediatheque, which sadly only really comes to life with festivals in summer. The Montemartini power station has had a more successful makeover, converted into a museum to house the overflow from the Capitoline Museums in the city centre.

Industrial accident suit still pending
Its particularity, of course, is the juxtaposition of sculpture and machinery, for unlike the Tate Modern in London, all the power generating equipment has been left in place.