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Pineto, a green oasis

Close to the Vatican City

A surprising picture. Via della Pineta Sacchetti with its every-day traffic jam; a line of cars slowly heading in the Trionfale direction; when, to your surprise, opens to your left a beautiful and unreal view:

the "cupolone" of San Pietro seems to arise from nothing, a privileged panoramic point of view in the meadows of a park. From here there is the most famous view of the Pineto, 26 hectares one of the most beautiful heavens of the Roman landscape.

The Urban Regional Park was founded in 1987, and its name comes from the presence of an alley of long pine trees. The Pineto is dominated by the Mediterranean scrub, and in particular by the oak cork . It is made by a series of steep slopes descending to the Vatican.

Between Saint Peter's and the Park there is a long and ancient relation: the building materials for the "Fabbrica" used to be made in one of the valleys of the Park called "Valle dell'Inferno".

The Sacchetti family built large villa here at the end of the 16th century; the building was planned by Pietro da Cortona, who was in the meantime also working on the Basilica.

Towards the end of the 19th century, the city of Rome had such a large territorial expansion that it was necessary to increase the bricks' production.

Since ancient Roman times, the main clay quarries producing bricks were situated in Valli dell'Inferno, Balduina, Gelsomino & Fornaci.

At the beginning of the 20th century, a new village developed in the Inferno Valley, where today lies the district of Valle Aurelia. In the "Borghetto di Fornaciari" (village of the brickyards workers ) the worker's housing with their families and the brickyards were next to each other.

The village grew with the arrival of groups of peasants attracted by the expansion of the city of Rome and its need of new buildings.

The workers' homes rose next to the brickworks along the main street of the village and also along the perpendicular thin alleys which had evocative names such as: Via dei Laterizi, degli Embrici, delle Ceramiche. The church and the community center, the Casa del Popolo, were the places where everybody would meet together.

The cork oaks (Quercus suber) are, together with the oaks ( Quercus ilex ), the most representative elements in the evergreen forests, typical of the areas with a Mediterranean climate.

The cork tree woods generally substitute the oak woods in siliceous lands in case of heavy rains.

The bush wood, particularly rich in herbaceous species, is made by the typical Mediterranean scrub.

In fact in the marginal areas where the woods clear out you can find species like the rockrose and the heather. Although the name recalls the pine trees, the evergreen woods that cover a large part of the Pineto Park are mostly made by cork oarks. They grow especially along the slopes of the hills with flat and sandy hilltops that remind a sequence of seaside dunes.

Being 22 km far from the sea, they represent what is left of the forest that grew along the Tyrrhenian coast in ancient times.

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Susannetta Concierge

di Susanna Milani, P.I.11676951004