• Lori-Ann Touchette

Valle dell’Inferno

According to modern parlance, the nickname of the Valle dell’Inferno (Valley of Hell) is linked to the many kilns that once filled this valley with smoke, but the name instead refers to a ferocious battle between the papal troops and the Lanzichenecchi of Charles V during the 1527 Sack of Rome. A center of clay extraction and brick production from the 1st century AD onwards, in the 5th and 6th centuries under Theodoric and then Belisarius, bricks produced here were used to restore the Aurelian Walls of the city. Although production slowed in the Medieval period, the construction of St Peter’s basilica (1506-1626) in the Renaissance resulted in a surge of activity. By the early 20th century, eighteen chimneys associated with as many ceramic factories were situated in this area. The Borghetto delle Fornacce was created to house the workmen who manned the kilns and produced the ceramic building materials. The communistic ideals of shared living between the owners and the workers there led Lenin to baptize it “Little Russia”.

The factories ceased to function in the 1960s and much of the area was destroyed in the subsequent two decades.

The mid 19th century ex Fornace Veschi survives as a monument of industrial archaeology now restored and revalorised within a modern commercial center. Can’t imagine that Lenin would be pleased!#romacittàdellaceramica #romeceramiccity #terracotta #ceramics #valledell’inferno #exfornaceveschi @ Borghetto Di Valle Dell'inferno (Fornaciai)


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