The reserve was instituted in 1997 and lies in north-west Rome, between the Via Cassia, Via Trionfale and Via Cortina d’Ampezzo. The landscape is typically hilly with broad hilltop plateaus and long valley bottoms. The main valley is crossed by the Fosso dell’Acqua Traversa, which flows parallel to the Via Cassia. The vegetation is varied: the coolest areas contain deciduous trees such as the British oak, hornbeam, turkey oak, holly, chestnut and hazel, while the sunlit areas include the cork-oak (sughera in Italian, hence the name of the reserve), pubescent oak and quercus farnetto. The water courses are mostly lined with willows and poplars. The many animal species include the fox, weasel, porcupine, badger, dormouse, owl, barn owl, little owland tawny owl. Many bird species also nest in the reserve and include the hoopoe, kestrel, cuckoo, woodpecker and kite. Reptiles include the water snake, viper and green lizard, while among the amphibians there is the toad, tree-frog and salamander. The area also has many archaeological remains,and the most famous is the so-called “Nero’s Tomb”, visible along the Via Cassia. In actual fact it is the 2nd-3rd century tomb of Publius Vibius Marianus, Prefect of III Legion “Gallica”. In the area of Acqua Traversa, on the site of today’s Villa Manzoni, there used to be the villa of Emperor Lucius Verus (161-169 AD), while recent excavations carried out in 1999, in order to build the Ottavia overpass, revealed tombs of an Etruscan settlement of the 6th century BC. Along the Via Trionfale, skirting the reserve, there is an underground section of the Trajan-Paolo aqueduct, originally built by Emperor Trajan (98-117 AD) and then restored and reopened by PopePaul V in 1612 in order to bring water from Lake Bracciano to the Trastevere quarter in Rome and reaching as far as the monumental Acqua Paola fountain on the Janiculum. The reserve also contains the old Casale dell’Insugherata together with some farmsteads of public property.
Notes: Protected area.