Piazza dei Cinquecento is the opening scene upon arriving at Roma Termini station. At the top of the Esquilino hill, it brings together several pieces of the city: the ancient baths of Diocletian, the railway infrastructure, the vast bus station, and the tree-lined heritage of Rome. Today, the square is cluttered and essentially mineral, and will be transformed into a vast, more permeable public space, supporting flamboyant vegetation and new uses.
The scale of the current square (4 ha) is a unique opportunity to accommodate a wide variety of uses to create a true public square for Roma and not only dedicated to mobility around the station. It has already undergone numerous redevelopments: the construction of the current station in 1950 and its renovation for the Great Jubilee of the year 2000, which gave more and more space to the car and to various forms of mobility. Through the Piazza Termini project, the station will be opened to the city as far as Piazza della Repubblica, an emblematic urban sequence, but also the landscape structure of the ancient Diocletian baths.
Urban and functional renewal of the Piazza dei Cinquecento and the surrounding of the Termini train station
Piazza dei Cinquecento, Roma (Italy)
4 ha (piazza) and 10 ha (piazza and surrounding)
Gruppo FS Italiane (Grandi Stazioni Rail, FS Sistemi Urbani e Rete Ferroviaria Italiana) with Roma Capitale
TVK (leading architect & urban designer), IT’S s.r.l. (architect and urban designer), NET Engineering (mobility), Artelia Italia (structure & roads and utilities), OSA (landscape), ON (lighting), Latitude Platform for Urban Research and Design (urban research), Michela Rustici (archeology)
Vincent Hertenberger (project director), Stella Armeli Iapichino, Agathe Lavielle, Jihana Nassif, Michele Franzoi
The various modes of transport, which currently obstruct the square, and in particular the bus lanes and taxis, are optimized to free up as much space as possible for pedestrians. To achieve this, the project will also study the redevelopment of the two avenues parallel to the Termini station to facilitate the sharing of mobility. A pavilion on the plaza hosting the bike hub and other activities will help to establish uses at the scale of the square. It signals the entrance to the bicycle park, highlighting intermodality.
“We would like to create a large, quiet zone is created in the immediate vicinity of the station exit. It gives clarity and greater visibility to the surrounding historical remains: the Servian walls, the Diocletian baths, the Piazza della Repubblica and the Palazzo Massimo. It houses the fresco in the garden of the Villa Livia, the reference for the Roman garden, which was the inspiration for the design of the Piazza’s landscape” says architects of TVK and studio IT’S.
The project thus aims to reconstruct a network of public spaces on a human scale to provide a vast garden with trees. The arboretum will cover the entire surface of the square and will include different species of plants, including oaks, palms, various floral species — some of which are rare — and fruit trees: it is a park halfway between a domesticated forest and a wild garden composed of 500 trees that will revive the spirit of the historic garden.
Special attention has been paid to the ground: its layout creates a continuity with the station hall. A gradient from the lighter colour under the canopy to the darker one under the arboretum helps to reduce the heat island effect while ensuring its durability. Taking full advantage of the natural soil already existing on the site, the ground is designed to be permeable where possible, and thus allow water management. The possibility of reusing the existing soil will be studied.
The Piazza dei Cinquecento is designed as an open and welcoming meeting space. We would therefore like the inhabitants and daily users of the Termini district to contribute to the project. This work would allow us to refine the various aspects of the project that are still open at this stage. At the time of construction, certain areas could remain open to the public and host collective activities, events as well as certain special events that would help spread the culture of this heritage. Thanks to this collective emulation throughout the project, the Piazza dei Cinquecento can become an active place where people can imagine the future uses of the square.