Archaeological park of the Colosseum, an ecosystem in history
The busy streets of the center of Rome are just a few meters away as the crow flies and a little further on, thousands of noisy tourists crowd the most common routes in the Colosseum archaeological park. But here, on the southern and western slopes of the Palatine Hill, birdsong and the hum of pollinators can be heard, immersed in an air full of perfumes. "Most visitors just see the Flavian amphitheater and the Forum," he says Andrea Schiappelliresponsible for the education and teaching of the Park and our exceptional guide - but when they discover the Green Ring route they are not disappointed".
Indeed, one of the most visited archaeological areas in the world contains a precious oasis of biodiversity which, in addition to amplifying the charm of the monuments, guarantees the protection of ecosystems in Rome where various animal and plant species live, cleaner air, careful management of water. Is exactly at the end of the green path on the Palatine, at the Temple of Venus facing the Colosseum, that the initial event of the Green&Blue Festival will be held on June 5th. Women and men protagonists of the fight against climate change will speak from a place where history and art have also become a way to protect biodiversity and not waste resources.
Landscape architects, archaeologists, researchers and technicians are engaged in the more than 40 hectares of the Colosseum Archaeological Park enhance the exceptional natural environment with initiatives ranging from recycling of waste and materialsto the implementation of pilot projects of sustainable restoration; from the collection of plants and wild fruits del ParCo to the planting of ancient and Renaissance essences linked to the history of the site. All the projects are then disseminated and communicated with events and itineraries dedicated to visitors of all ages and detailed in specific publications.
At every step of the way there is a discovery: "There are our hives - Schiappelli points out - they are positioned at the foot of the Romulean huts, where the archaic history of Rome began, in one of the most peaceful and evocative points, which facilitated the acclimatization of the bees and the success of the project good quantity honey production and of notable value". In the Park the olives from the 189 trees are harvested of various planting periods, from the centenary specimens near the arch of Titus, to the more recent ones, perfectly inserted in a landscape of which the olive trees have been part since ancient times. "The interventions are based on accurate philological studies of the sources - explains the historian - for example, research on excellent wines in ancient Rome has led to the knowledge of an ancient native vine that Pliny calls "pantastica grape", from which Bellone wine derives, still cultivated around Rome today. Since the presence of vineyards in the Park is well documented, we had the idea of planting a small vineyard in the area called "Vigna Barberini", with cuttings of the Bellone variety".
Scientific research on fauna and flora also arises from the activities of the ParCo. The Spectio project with the naturalistic association Ornis Italica (la specioin Rome of the origins, was the ritual observation of the flight of birds and other phenomena for divination) studies the habits of the fauna and above all of the local avifauna and has discovered, for example, that a seagull has undertaken a journey of 750 kilometers to to Lake Constance, in Switzerland, and then returned to the Basilica Emilia. Owls, peregrine falcons, kestrels, chimney sweep redstarts are monitored with gps, camera traps help to observe the small animals that frequent the site and the fountain water management helps support the green toad colonies. The fountains, in fact, were restored by studying systems for saving and virtuous use of waterwith the recovery of the rain and the various fountains.
"Each of our interventions aims to enhance the historical aspect with sustainability - explains the archaeologist Francesca Boldrighini - thus, when we restored the pillar capital of the Temple of Venus, blackened by patinas of biological colonization and atmospheric pollution, we used a water-based polymeric gel, free of any toxic element for operators and for the environment".
The landscape architect Gabriella Strano is engaged in the complex redevelopment of the garden on the Domus Aurea and has already started the project of anti-pollution hedges on the part of the Park facing via dei Cerchi, where shrubs have been planted that are particularly effective in absorbing particulate matter. "The studies that we carry out on the ecosystems within the ParCo, - underlines Strano - whether it is a matter of redeveloping a garden, or putting water back into the fountains, have a single common thread: the environmental benefit".