Mission Gallery - Country Map

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Conservation Facts

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Resident Photographers:

Visiting Photographers:

Laurent Geslin

Vatican Galleries

Like in many other big cities in Europe, Rome is most wild where there is some green space within the city borders, a park, a small pond or an abandoned or unused piece of land, conquered by pioneer plant species, along roads, railroad tracks or on city airports. Some of the most diverse habitats in urban areas though are gardens, public or private, tiny or grand.

From a natural history point of view the Vatican Gardens as part of the Holy See are just that a small paradise in the city of Rome since the 13th century. Plus, the old stone walls of the majestic buildings resemble walls and cliffs, attractive to birds like kestrels, starlings, stonechat, Collared dove and even the magnificent Blue Rock thrush. Peregrine falcons hunt over the premises and perch on the stone towers waiting for thousands of starlings that use Rome as an important stopover during migration. The big cedar trees in the gardens are home to a noisy colony of Monk (sic!) parakeets (Myopsitta monachus). Less exotic songbirds like Common redstarts, Blackbirds and Chaffinches inhabit the multinational collection of trees and shrubs from Washington palms to Bananas, from Australian silk-oak to Japanese spindle trees, from yew to very old Olive trees that have been planted here over the centuries.
Insects, especially solitary bees, butterflies and moths benefit from the artificial rock and herbal gardens, a multitude of well-kept flower beds (by more than 25 gardeners!) and the many small crevices in tree bark and stone walls.
The Holy See, a surprisingly diverse garden Eden.