In the foreground the ramp of the Capitaneria, original lagoon to the right, harbour basin to the left.

The Capitaneria of Monte Giulio

This small 2nd century Roman building is exposed in an open field behind the Ships Museum of Fiumicino, adjacent to the constructions of the airport of Rome. It is well reachable by car an at walking distance from the Museum (which is still closed but used as a meeting point for excursions).

It was excavated in the ’60 of the last century and is rather well preserved. It’s the only building of the Monte Giulio you can come close by and walk all around, the others being barred by a fence along the opposite side of the motor way. Monte Giulio is the quay that makes up the landside margin of the harbour basin of the emperor Claudius.

In the foreground the ramp of the Capitaneria, original lagoon to the right, harbour basin to the left. The name Capitaneria is due to its presumed control function for the harbour. What fascinates me most of this building is a well preserved ramp, sloping down landinwards (image). This feature alone already demonstrates the original presence of a water body not only in front of the quay but also behind. It is highly probably that this was a shallow lagoon used as a “darsena”, and that small-size ships were drawn upon the ramp for maintenance.

Tonnie Huijzendveld (Arnoldus)