21.11. International symposium ”City of Trees”

Monday 21 November 2022 (Italian National Tree Day)
Villa Lante al Gianicolo


This one-day symposium examines the presence of trees in or around built environments in a diachronic perspective from Antiquity through the Middle Ages and Renaissance to the present. Trees will be set in the context of man-made, constructed environments of houses and farmhouses, temples and churches, streets, boulevards and fora, as interfaces between wild nature and socially contructed space. The symposium gathers scholars to discuss the social, religious, esthetic, sanitary, economic and ecological significances of urban trees in different periods, from ancient Rome, to modern urban planning and the recent “battles for trees”. How do trees function as monuments, lieux-de-memoir, or objects of worship in urban environments? How does their economic aspect as producers of fruit or wood or even shade, or division of space intermingle with more symbolic and religious qualities?

How do people perceive urban trees emotionally and interact with trees in the cities?


10.30 Registration & Coffee

11.00 Ria Berg (Institutum Romanum Finlandiae): “Introduction – Living with Trees in Antiquity”

11.30 Andrew Fox (Institute of Classical Studies, School of Advanced Study; University of Reading): “Natural Monuments: The Figs of the Forum”

12.00 Annalisa Marzano (University of Bologna): “Pointing out Trees in the Garden: Trees and the Elite’s Self-Representation in Ancient Rome”

12.30 – 13.30 Lunch break

13.30 Mattia Corso (University of Verona): “The Trees of the Madonna. Trees and Woods as Sites of Divine Presence in Early Modern Italy”

14.00 Marika Räsänen (University of Turku): “Veneration of Trees in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Dominican Culture”

14.30 Juhana Heikonen (University of Helsinki): “Trees in the Context of 19th Century Urban Ideology”

15.00 Coffee break

15.30 Tiina Männistö-Funk (University of Turku): “Where have all the trees gone? Trees in modernist planning and urban activism in Finland”

16.00 Discussion


16.30 Toast & planting of a tree in the garden of Villa Lante


Key note:

17.00 Bettina Bergmann (Mount Holyoke College): “The Work of Trees and their Images in Roman Art”


Ria Berg (Institutum Romanum Finlandiae)
Marika Räsänen (Academy of Finland/University of Turku)