The Monti Lucretili are a mountainous area on the outskirts of Rome. Nowadays they appear as a classic Mediterranean pastoral landscape, among olive trees, ancient fruit trees and a great variety of castles. From the top of these high hills the view sweeps from the coast of Rome to the Lazio plain, where under a layer of smog the great conurbation of the city can easily be detected.
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The area is sparsely inhabited, in contrast to the city of Rome, which is close to four million inhabitants with the suburbs. These are sufficient reasons to make the Monti Lucretili a paradise of landscape archeology
Indeed, The Monti Lucretili Landscape Project is a diachronic research, carried on by Roma Tre University, Humanities Department, focused on the reconstruction of the landscape history of the Monti Lucretili area, a territorial district located north-east of Rome (Latium, Italy).
“The mountain landscape of the Lucretili Mountains, a territorial district in the north-east of Rome, in the Roman Sabina, has been marked, as still today, by pastoralism: for centuries, forms of mobile pastoralism have been practiced seasonally. However, we refer to a short and medium-range transhumance, since this activity developed mainly at a local level and not at a wide-ranging level, as instead attested in other Apennine areas. In mountain contexts, it is also easy to find on the modern maps some talking toponyms that recall the presence in the rural landscape of some specific trades linked to the movement of shepherds. Sabina has always been ‘renowned’ for the salt trade. Like salt, snow was also an essential element in nutrition, a very useful resource for the preservation of foods or for their production.
The transport and trade of snow continued, with perhaps a slowdown in the early Middle Ages, until more recent times, governed by contracts granted by the Papal State. Snow, like salt, had to follow precise routes, both land and river, able to lead it first to small towns and then to the city.
The areas of the Lucretili that best suited this activity were Monte Gennaro, which dominates the south-eastern portion of the area,
and Monte Pellecchia, near Monteflavio. Along the ‘routes of the snow’ it is still possible to find small places of worship dedicated to the Madonna della Neve: the evidence testifies to the strong devotional character that this activity, strongly rooted in the territory, assumed in the perception of the local population“. (Emeri Farinetti and Martina Bernardi, abstract from 27th EAA Annual Meeting)