The largest woodlands of the Roman countryside are situated within Decima Malafede Nature Reserve, and they represent one of the largest plain forests of the whole Mediterranean basin; according to a WWF research project, the area is populated by over 800 vegetable species. However, lying between GRA (Grande Raccordo Anulare), Via Pontina, Via Laurentina, and the town of Pomezia, the area also boasts human settlements dating back to the early prehistorical period. Therefore, this area represents a fine example of the evolution of the Roman countryside as a whole. During the Imperial period, it was scattered with villas transformed during the early Middle Ages into big farmhouses and fortified buildings and towers, used to watch over the territory and the roads. The first regulations regarding the landscape date back to 1985; however, only in 1996 the perimeter of the area was fixed, and subsequently (1997) the nature reserve was established.