Antonio Cederna's battle for the protection of the park

Who was Antonio Cederna ?

The appeal of the European Association for the

Conservation of the Geological Heritage 

The park

Dear friends,

People who are concerned about environment, history and culture and who want to leave a city suited for living in agreeable conditions to future generations are seriously worried. Large building companies, linked to political parties, want to cover a large area close to Appia Antica Park with concrete.

All Italian associations for protection of the environment and of historical monuments have taken action to stop the last barbaric move against the city. WWF, Italia Nostra, Legambiente, Oikos, Verdi Ambiente e SocietÓ, many local committees and the State Authority for the Protection of Archaeological Heritage have formed an action group against the Mayor of the city. Although the Mayor was originally elected as a member of the Green Party, he has now taken a conflictual course of action. The Mayor accuses his allies of the past of being "unreasonable, extremist, and fundamentalist ". We think that it is unreasonable to devastate an area which is not exclusively the property of Roman citizens: Appia Park belongs to the whole world and should not be put on sale neither to line the pockets of a small group of money-makers nor to allow a handful of wealthy people to own a house benefitting from a view of an archaeological park.

Please answer this E-Mail as soon as possible and give international support to this matter

Affirm that Appia Antica Park cannot be considered as a private property and help us to stop any business venture which will certainly have a negative impact on the environment, history and culture.



Since 1994, Antonio Cederna, the father of the Italian green movement , has accused the lack of interest of the public administration in Rome concerning the protection of both history and environment. Politicians were involved in huge building projects, which, thanks to the Official Building Program of 1965, could destroy all green and historical areas of the southern part of the City near the border to the Agro Romano whose landscape has been described by Goethe and painted by some of excellent artists of recent epochs. Thanks to the determined work of associations for the protection of the environment, the battle against such projects goes on. One of the most difficult situations concerns the area of Tormarancia. This area is the object of interest of this page. Antonio Cederna justifies this battle by evoking considerations of the environment, town-planning and the larger field of history. Tormarancia is already a congested area with plenty of traffic on its main roads. Additional to this already problematic situation, the building project could easily destroy the geological status of this zone by increasing the rate of soil erosion. Furthermore, a lot of rare and precious buildings from the late-Roman era would disappear. Moreover, it is not necessary to build new houses, since the population of Rome is decreasing. These arguments have been pointed out to the City Administration by several different groups: Pontificia Commissione di Arte Sacra (Vatican Committee for Sacred Art), Dipartimento delle Scienze della Terra della Sapienza (Department of Earth Sciences of the university "La Sapienza"), Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (National Research Council) etc. Italian law, when correctly applied, obliges building programs to maintain the safeguard of both historical and environmental values (Decree of the President of the Republic n.616 of 1977, Law "Galasso", Law on Protected Areas of 1991).

A solution could be a bill signed in 1988 by 20 members of the Regional Parliament which foresees to extend the limits of the Appia Antica Park to include the endangered area.


Antonio Cederna

Born in 1921, he dedicated most of his life to the protection of both the archaeological and the environmental heritage of Italy. In his last years (he died after a long illness in summer of 1996) he was engaged in a battle to stop the devastation of the City until the year 2000. After graduating in Archaeology at the University of Pavia in 1947, he publishes the results of an archeological excavation in Carsoli, situated few miles from Rome.

At the end of the Sixties, he returns to his activities since the economical development and the postwar rebuilding threatens the historical and natural patrimony. Cederna leaves archeology and engages in the press, denunciating everything that puts the cultural integrity of his country into risk.

The main problems he deals with are the protection of historical centres (especially Rome and Milan), the Roman countryside at via Appia Antica, the National Parks, the coasts and Sardinia. His is convicted of the fact, that, for reaching this aims, also politic decisions are necessary. From 1987 to 1992 he is a member of the Italian Parliament. He contributes decisively to the creation of laws for the protection of soil against hydro-geological risks and for the protection of natural territories. He was also a member of the City Council of Rome, President of the Committee of the Appia Antica Park Management and President of the Roman section of Italia Nostra, the first Italian association for the protection of environment. In the Seventies he is prized by the Italian Council for Research and wins the Tevere literary prize of the Italian Center for Arts and Culture.


PROGEO - European Association for the Conservation of the Geological Heritage 

Ministero dei Beni Culturali e Ambientali

Ministro On. Walter Veltroni

Via del Collegio Romano 27

00186 Roma - Italy

July 28, 1996

Dear Minister Veltroni,

I am writing to express the sincere hope of the European Association for the Conservation of the Geological Heritage - ProGeo concerning the future of the Tor Marancia area of Rome. During the course of our recent conference in Rome-"The Second International Symposium on the Conservation of the Geological Heritage".

ProGeo members had the opportunity to examine the site in person, under the expert guidance of Italian colleagues. We are aware of the efforts in Italy in defence of this important site, which records the volcanic past of Rome. I am writing to convey the support of ProGeo for your efforts to protect the locality in a natural state.

It is our understanding that the site is threatened by building developments. As well as being an indispensible and historical green, open space for Rome, Tor Marancia is of course adjacent to the old Appian Way, to ancient catacombs and it was the site of Roman quarries. From ProGeo’s perspective and its interests in conserving the most important elements of our shared European Landscape and geological heritage, ProGeo sees this as a key site. It shares whith Italian colleagues the conviction that Tor Marancia has combined scientific and conservation merits which are unique, and these add to an already very strong historical and landscape case for its preservation from development. Indeed the site’s volcanic strata have been suggested for inclusion in the global inventory of geological sites (Geosites) being compiled by the International Union of Geological Sciences and UNESCO.

I look forward very much to hearing of the success of the campaign to protect this important historical landscape area: it would be the greatest pity to see a piece of national heritage lost for a short-term speculative local gain.

Yours sincerely

Best wishes

Dr W.A.P. Wimbledon

Executive Secretary ProGeo


The Park of Appia Antica

Appia Antica Park lies in the south-east of of Rome. It is situated between Via Appia Nuova and Via Ardeatina, along the via Appia Antica, an ancient road rich of archaeological artefacts attracting tourists from all over the world.

A large part of the park's soil is of volcanic origin and is mainly used for farming and stock-raising. Some wooded areas have remained, mostly along the hillside. Herbs growing up in the park are typical for pastureland, whereas trees and bushes are typical of both mediterranean and temperate climates, species include Holm Oak (Quercus ilex), Cork Tree (Quercus suber) Laurel (Laurus nobilis) Elm Tree (Ulmus Campestris), Myrt (Myrtus communis) Phyllirea (Phyllirea variabilis) and Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna). Black Poplars (Populus nigra) and White Willow Trees (Salix alba) grow along streams.

The wildlife consists of:

the Fox (Vulpes vulpes), the Hedgehog (Hystrix crystata), the Dormouse (Moscardinus avellanarius) and the Wild Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) among mammals.

The Dormouse

Among Reptiles the Dark Green Snake (Coluber viridiflavus), the Grass Snake (Natrix natrix), the Seps (Chalcides chalcides) and the Green Lizard (Lacerta viridis).

The Dark Green Snake

The Grass Snake

The Seps

The Green Lizard

The Crested Tryton (Triturus crystatus) amongst amphibian.

The Crested Tryton


The Park has got his importance mainly for the rich archaeological testimony found along the Via Appia Antica. This ancient road has been connecting Rome with the South of Italy since the era of the Ancient Roman Republic, traces of original block-paving still found there today give evidence of this.

The most important monuments are the Tomb of Cecilia Metella and the Tomb of Annia Regilla and the Villa dei Quintili. You can also find famous ancient churches as the curch of S.Nicola, the Basilica of Sebastiano with its Catacombs and and the abbey Tre Fontane.

If you come to Rome this park is an important and beautiful attraction worth to visit. Help us to conserve Appia Antica Park!