Rome's largest green lung
Spread over a protected natural area of 916 hectares, the Pineta di Castel Fusano Urban Park is the largest green area in Rome, and has been part of the Litorale Romano Nature Reserve since 1996. An area in Ostia Lido, characterised by rich vegetation that can be traced back to the Mediterranean maquis and populated by hundreds of animal species, mostly game and birds.
Divided into two parts by Via Cristoforo Colombo, the pine forest is bordered to the northwest by the Canale dei Pescatori and to the southeast by the Castelporziano Presidential Estate. The area, home to key sites of historical and archaeological value, like the Villa Chigi and the remains of part of the Via Severiana, a historic Roman road that connected ancient Fiumicino with Terracina. In a clearing in the middle of the forest, half a kilometre from the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Villa della Palombara, a Roman villa from the 1st century BC was discovered, mistakenly identified as the home of Pliny the Elder. It was later discovered to be the villa of Hortensius, a notorious rival orator of Cicero. On the side of the villa facing the sea, the remains of a four-sided portico can be found, complete with a reconstructed brick arch. A little higher up are the thermal baths with a remarkable mosaic depicting Neptune surrounded by marine fauna.