Pontine Marshes


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Pontine Marshes

(pŏn`tēn, –tīn), Ital. Pontina, low-lying region, c.300 sq mi (780 sq km), in S Latium, central Italy, between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Apennine foothills; it is crossed by drainage canals. The Appian Way, a Roman-built road, passes through the region. In pre-Roman and early Roman times the area was populated and fertile, but it was later abandoned because of the malaria in its unhealthful marshlands. The Roman emperors Trajan and Theodoric and several popes started reclamation works, but a drainage system was not completed until the 1930s under Mussolini. The large estates in the area were then broken into lots, and farmers from N Italy settled there permanently. The first rural town, Littoria (now Latina), was inaugurated in 1932. Sabaudia, Pontinia, Aprilia, and Pomezia were founded in the following years. During World War II the drainage works were damaged and the region was flooded. Wheat and cotton are now produced, and livestock is raised.
References in periodicals archive ?
Before 1930, he says, the Pontine Marshes, between Rome and Naples, were avoided by people because of the malarial mosquitoes.
Story is set in Latina, a city created by Mussolini out of the Pontine Marshes that's a perfect training ground for a family in search of stability in a rootless world.
Serra, Evening in the Pontine Marshes." The Pontine marshes, 50 Km south of Rome, were at that time the most malarious area of continental Italy-today the area is one of the most fertile plains in the country.
Mussolini himself enthusiastically endorsed this personification of the regime with himself: in the `Battle for Grain' he was famously pictured bare-chested and wielding a farm implement, and at the draining of the Pontine marshes he harangued an adoring crowd half-naked.
Mussolini - or "Bullfrog of the Pontine marshes" as Winston Churchill dubbed him - is carved on a dazzling white obelisk as an echo from times long past.
The description of the Agro Romano, on which Rome has depended in the past for its food supply, is well drawn and explains clearly the official restrictions which led, after 1720, to the insufficiency of the hinterland to meet the capital's needs, also putting into perspective the well-known attempts to make productive the Pontine Marshes. (This section and others should be read with the background of Ricuperati and Carpanetto's general work, Italy in the Age of Reason.) Thus even agriculture showed the continual ebb of Roman vitality during the eighteenth century.
Winston Churchill called him the Bullfrog of the Pontine Marshes.