The last few days have been cold and rainy. The size and solidity of the large hangar covering about 800 m2 of the Park on the Oppian Hill are striking: it looks like a place untouched by the bad weather. And it is.
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It is of real importance for all those who, like us, are concerned for the Domus Aurea and its vegetation, respectively a unique and irreplaceable archaeological heritage and a magnificent natural heritage, to discuss the difficult relationship between these two features in the park on the Oppian Hill.
The archaeological sounding carried out on the outer surface of Trajanic galleries 20A and 20B entailed, as a preliminary phase, the removal of all the weeds that had taken root in the layer of earth above the screed connecting and covering the vaults.
The types of plants which presented the greatest problems for the wall structure and that were most difficult to remove and eradicate were an Ailanthus altissima (ailanthus or tree of heaven) and a large Laurus nobilis (laurel) bush.
The first “Conservation Plan for the Monument” (Preliminary project report and definitive project), developed from an idea by A. Vodret, was drawn up by the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma in March 2011 and written by F. Filippi, A. Vodret, I. Sciortino, E. Segala and M. Pesce. It was then presented to the Technical Committees for Archaeological, Architectural and Landscape Heritage of the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities (MiBAC). Subsequently, those parts of the project concerning the consolidation of structures and decorations, and the tests for the proposed new arrangement of the waterproof roof were launched.
The problematic coexistence of the botanical features of the Oppian Hill and the underground archaeological structures of Trajan’s Baths and the Domus Aurea is well known.
The plants on the Trajanic Terrace date to the arrangement designed in several stages by A. Munoz in the 1930s and include: