The Marsh of Torre Flavia is a very important wetland for the safeguard
of the migratory avifauna and for the preservation of the last stretch
of the ancient "maremma" (swampy coastland) of Lazio.
The wetland is formed by a clayey-slimy ground rich in organic material of vegetal origins giving origin to a carpet of decaying organic substance, which is responsible for the formation of a blackish mud. Residual strips of an ancient sandy dune separate the marsh form the sea. An artificial jetty currently links to the coast the ruins of the ancient Torre Flavia, which has remained isolated at about 80 meters from the beach because of the very stressed phenomenon of coastal erosion.
The territory of Palude di Torre Flavia Natural Monument extends itself along the coast, between Cerveteri and Ladispoli, in some stretches separated from the sea by a small sandy deposit and in other stretches reached by the sea, which reveals part of the deposits anciently originated by the slow accumulation of organic material coming from the rests of plants, algae, and dead animals, consisting in a very dark mud. The landscape is the typical landscape of the coastal wetlands, which in the past were widespread along the coasts of Lazio, when a big system of swamps and brackish marshes existed. Behind the beach (subject to an intense erosion and withdrawal), a dune strip runs, by delimiting the real marsh. The latter is formed by pools, ponds and canals alternating with land tongues covered by a thick and inaccessible canebrake penetrating into the heart of the marsh.
Part of the submerged area is object of productive activity thanks to the presence of a sustainable fish breeding plan whose management contributes to the maintenance of the Marsh.
At the beginning of the century, the land reclamation activities and the more recent urbanization of Campo di Mare (in the 60s) have progressively reduced the great original marsh up to the current 37 hectares. A period of abandonment and decay began; the Province of Rome, in collaboration with WWF Lazio, is trying to recover the area.
The area is a Special Protection Area (SIC IT 6030020) belonging to Rete Natura 2000 located by the Italian Department of Environment according to the directive 79/409/CEE "Birds". In the open sea area in front of the SPA there is also a Site of Community Importance ("Secche di Torre Flavia" SIC IT 6000009; Dir. 92/43/CEE "Habitat") safeguarding the Posidonia oceanica beds.
The territory of Palude di Torre Flavia Natural Monument extends itself along the coast; in some stretches it is separated from
the sea by a small sandy deposit and in other stretches it is reached
by the sea, which reveals part of the deposits anciently originated by
the slow accumulation of organic material coming from the rests of
plants, algae, and dead animals.
The flora mainly consists of wetland species differentiating according to the degree of water saltiness they adapted to. As a matter of fact, the salts dissolved in the sea water give origin to the so-called "physiological dryness" leading the cells to lose water through osmosis: despite this, the halophilic vegetable species, characteristic of saline environments, survive thanks to their capacity to accumulate in the cell juice solutes which are not toxic for the species, in order to be able to absorb the water from outside also in the brackish marshes and on the sandy coasts. In some halophytes, the concentration of solutes is so high that in the past some species were gathered to extract from them chemical substances, like in the case of species of the genus Salsola, from which soda and other substances were extracted in order to produce detergents and glass. In the most inner and farther part from the sea, beyond a strip of meadows strongly influenced by the human intervention, there are emerged meadows with herbaceous species adapted to environments which are not submerged, but are constantly wet, like the Hairy Sedge, a Cyperaceae which is typical of the wet uncultivated lands. In the depressed area, where the water is sweeter, deeper, and persistent, species which are characteristic of stagnant waters develop, like the Common water Crowfoot, while at the edges the vegetation is dominated by the common reed.
Further information (Italian text)
The area is extremely interesting from the ornithological point of
view. On the sea shore it is still possible to observe waders, mainly
aquatic migratory birds which can be seen above all during the winter
and in the migration periods. Among these, the Ruddy Turnstone, the
Oystercatcher, and the Plovers. In the brackish waters dominated by
glasswort we can find the Little ringed Plover, the Snowy Plover, the
Common Sandpiper, and the Green Sandpiper, besides the very elegant
Black-winged Stilt. Various duck species populate the inland stretches
of water: among them the Mallard, the Northern Pintail, the Garganey,
and the Common Teal. Among the canebrakes you can sight the Reed
Bunting, the Great Reed Warbler, and the Reed Warbler. These two
species of passerines, together with the Fan-tailed Warbler, are also
nesting in the area and it would be of great importance to study the
structure and the dynamics of these populations, located by other
Among the mammals we should mention the Water Shrew. The realm of amphibians par excellence, you can find here the common Green Frog and the Common Tree Frog, among the amphibians the Grass Snake.
Further information (Italian text)