The remains of two imperial Roman ports are to be made into an archaeological park, with work starting in 2005. The ports are both to the north of Ostia, close to Rome and to Leonardo da Vinci international airport at Fiumicino.
The first port was built by the emperor Claudius between 41-54 AD when the Roman port at Ostia became too congested. However it was easily blocked by sand, so between 100-112 AD Trajan had a second, larger port excavated nearby. This is still in a good state of conservation. Around the port are the ruins of enormous warehouses, moorings, a lighthouse, temples, thermal baths and a theatre.
The minister for the national heritage, Giuliano Urbani, and the minister for transport and infrastructure, Pietro Lunardi, made a joint announcement about the new project, which will have to reconcile the needs of an archaeological park with those of a modern and efficient transport system. It is planned to run a road tunnel and a section of railway under part of the park. It is hoped that the new archaeological zone will become a major tourist attraction thanks to its proximity to Rome's international airport.