The plan for the redevelopment of the Park of Muggia Vecchia
The green area has, over the years, seen an ever greater neglect and a lack of maintenance management: many parts have run wild, pastures become wooded, views of the surrounding landscape closed off by the natural vegetation. After the last works carried out in 2000 for the use and the improvement of the archaeological areas, gradually the management of the green area has been restricted to the essential.
The natural vegetation is not to be seen as negative and hence to be eliminated perforce, since the Park of Muggia Vecchia is in itself singular precisely because its vegetation is indigenous, like the downy oak; but it must be managed and controlled so as to maintain a level of beauty and enjoyment befitting the strategic location of the place, commanding both the gulf of Trieste and the countryside, with its woods and farms, of neighbouring Slovenia.
Both the parish priest don Andrea Destradi and the Friends of Muggia Vecchia agree as to managing the area better, fully observing the existing protective restrictions regarding the archaeology, landscape and forest hydrology of the place. Thus the aim is to restore to the area the dignity appropriate to its past history, so that it can be a witness to that past for generations present and to come. The intention is to carry out controlled operations that will manage and maintain the wood and the green areas adjacent to the church, will form part of an organic vision of the whole, and will conform to the existing restrictions.
The project aims at an environmental-landscape upgrading of the area. This involves:
1. The historical evolution of the agricultural and wooded areas;
2. The forestry and landscape restrictions existing on the site, the oak wood and the types of indigenous trees that are valuable or of historical importance;
3. The highly invasive foreign species that threaten the climax of the Oakwood, such as the ailanthus; the pioneer species that alter the biodiversity and the pleasantness of the area.
4. Particular attention to the study of possible scenic views which by means of simple operations can become visible through the branches of the trees, to enhance the beauty of the surrounding landscape and so restore the place to its true significance as a plateau, dominant and presiding. Nevertheless this approach takes into consideration the possible use of the area, also in view of the opening, next to the present parsonage, of the new diocesan vocational centre “Il Sicomoro” (The Sycamore), which will mean that the open spaces attached to it will be constantly visited.
5. The potential of the archaeological site and the areas still to be developed.
In order to work on the open spaces and the existing vegetation the area has ideally been divided into allotments, which do not follow the outline of the cadastral parcels, but which group together those spaces that are homogeneous in appearance (vegetation, presence of grass, woods etc.) and in function. These will clearly be dealt with in the same way at both planning and management levels. The lots are as follows: the oak wood of Porta S. Odorico, the cemetery, the church square lookout, the car park, the oak wood north of Porta Santa Caterina, the oak wood south of Porta Santa Caterina, the garden, the oak wood of Porta Santa Margherita.
The major critical elements brought to light by the study relate to: the curtain of natural vegetation that encircles the level ground of the hill, obscuring the view; the presence of ailanthus and paper mulberry, highly invasive alien species; the presence of great conifers in the parking area, which alter in colour and size the neighbouring spaces similar to the Karst forest of oak and smoke-tree, peculiar to the place; the archaeological area of the oak wood lot north of Porta Santa Caterina, undeveloped, like the whole area bordering on the oak wood lot of Porta Santa Margherita, once pasture, which contains traces of dry stone walls and flat parts hidden by brambles, where the existing traces and paths have disappeared.
In addition there is the possibility of locating, in the deep-set abandoned area between the lookout and Porta Santa Caterina, a small building to act as a museum to contain the archaeological finds of Muggia Vecchia (today kept in the Muggia museum), bringing them again into direct contact with the excavations, according to an ever more widespread tendency, which is to give greater prominence to the place of origin and its landscape. The choice of the site is linked to various factors: the area is abandoned, and does not possess the spatial and naturalistic characteristics of the oak wood south of Porta Santa Caterina; though now unused, there still exists a path downhill; the zone is low down and deep-set, which would ease insertion; there is an archaeological area waiting to be enhanced, as is the potential view of the sea towards the north. The little museum would have easy access from the parking lot and would be developed on two levels inserted into the slope, with windows opening onto the archaeological area below and onto the sea. The reception area could also include a small refreshment bar, which Muggia Vecchia currently lacks.
The landscape project, then, envisages: a trimming of the vegetation; eradication of those alien species that are too invasive; substitution of species introduced in the second half of the C20th and which have spoilt the spatial relations between the little church and the surrounding flat area; cleaning and conservation of the oak woods and their expansion, in some cases the thinning out of branches so as to enhance as far as possible the panoramic view; the introduction of groundcovers where the grass fails to grow. The project aims at restoring greater depth and expressiveness to the place, eliminating where possible whatever creates confusion in understanding the area.
One of the first operations envisaged will be the tracing of the borders of the property, which in some cases, thanks to the pioneering vegetation which has got the upper hand, are no longer clearly discernible.
The parish priest, together with the Friends of Muggia Vecchia, is seeking to raise funds in order to realise the project as soon as possible, thereby to offer the visitor a well-kept park, welcoming and full of opportunity.