The green and archaeological areas from Ostia Antica to Ostia and to Castel Porziano, are the National Natural Reserve established on 29th March 1996 with an Environmental Decree. It also includes parts of Fiumicino, Ponte Galeria, Infernetto, Acilia, Casal Palocco, the urban park of Castel Fusano and the dunes in Capocotta “Here the precious naturalistic values are protected together with the historical and archaeological ones”.
This should avoid or control a further urban development.
In particular this decree forbids hunting, damaging spontaneous flora and off road circulation in these areas.
The cast agricultural and wild area which runs along via del Mare on the left, between Ostia Antica and the outskirts of Ostia, is composed by two areas called Procoio and Pianabella: the area is perfect for walks and cycling.
It can be reached easily with via del Mare or the via Cristoforo Colombo, from here you can directly take viale di castel Fusano (traffic light between via del Mare and Ostia Antica or the last one in via Cristoforo Colombo, with via di Villa di Plinio). You can also reach it on foot from Ostia Antica station along Roma – Lido railway along the little road that from Ostia Antica cemetery ventures into the countryside along via di Pianabella. You can also get there along via dei Promontori from Ostia.
Procoio pine forest
From the II sec. B.C. the agricultural area that now known as Pianabella had a cemetery use, which it still maintains: it in fact constituted the eastward expansion of the Laurentina Necropolis: that is the source of beautiful Roman sarcophagi. Even today we can see five bumps that cut the area from north-east to south-west, corresponding to as many cemetery roads (the bumps are formed by the collapse of the tombs built on the sides of the streets).
In 1976, just South of the Laurentina Necropolis, near the Via Ostiense, a Christian Basilica was discovered, probably datable between the 4th and 5th centuries. Some scholars identify it in the basilica dedicated to the Saints Peter, Paul and John mentioned in the Liber Pontificalis; others are instead inclined to identify it with the basilica of S. Lorenzo, built by a Gallicano, martyr under Julian emperor (IV century AD), which later sources indicate just outside Porta Laurentina. It is considered probable that Gallicano had made himself praiseworthy for some donations made to the basilica and that the name of S. Lorenzo is derived from the church in the late period from its proximity to the Porta Laurentina.
The building, with an apse and a small entrance porch, had a single nave (43.30 x 16.20 m), built from scratch in listed building; it is oriented East / West and was built on previous funerary structures, partially reusing them. In the apse was found a valuable altarpiece of the 4th-5th. The factory was the subject of restoration work until the ninth century and traces of attendance reach at least until the 11th century; subsequently it collapsed, presumably due to an earthquake.
Estratto da: S. Lorenzatti (a cura di), Ostia. Storia, ambiente, itinerari, Roma 2007