The park of Muggia Vecchia occupies an area of 26,000 square metres on the summit of a hill which on the one side looks upon the sea and on the other the Istrian hinterland. The territory is part of the Istrian peninsula and is clearly distinguished from the hills of the Karst by its natural rock, which here is not limestone but Flysch, constituted of alternate layers, more or less thick, of marl and sandstone, which gives the hill its warm, rose-yellow colour.
The composition of the soil affects the vegetation. On the old sandstone walls of the park the common Rustyback fern (Asplenium Ceterah) is much in evidence. On the more shadowy walls, by contrast, sprouts the Maidenhair Spleenwort (Asplenium Trichomanes), still used in popular medicine. To be found on the rubble is an example of sweetfern, the common polypody also known by the name of “liquorice”, since its rootstock, once cleaned, can be sucked in its freshly cut state, giving the palate a taste reminiscent of liquorice.
On the ruins of the old houses, besides the fine examples of the Downy Oak and the Flowery Ash that are characteristic of the hill as a whole, one sees growing a local succulent plant, St.John’s wort (Sedum maximum). At the end of spring the area is enriched by the blossoming of White Lace Flower (Orlaya Grandiflora). Found in abundance under the oaks is the smokebush, the scòdino, which manages to survive thanks to the light that penetrates to the undergrowth through the leafy branches of the oaks, unfortunately regularly defoliated by the Green Oak Moth. An important presence is that of the medical forage crop leguminosa Medicago, and the Vicia cracca (Tufted Vetch, Vetch Montanina) a source of food for man up until the dawn of the Neolithic age. Like all leguminous plants it enriches the soil with nitrogen. Present, too, is the Bay Laurel (Laurus Nobilis), which gave its name to Muggia (Borgo Lauro).
At present the sides of the hill are for the most part uncultivated, whereas in the past they were actually under mixed cultivation, composed of rows of vines between which, in the interests of space, cereals were grown. Testifying to the last century are the exceptionally interesting photographs of Francesco Caldart, forestry commandant in the Thirties, who documented the state of the hill upon which, up until the Fifties, there were still many remains of the ancient walls, later demolished.