Procession at Pamphilj

"Procession at Pamphilj" is a new agroforestry experience nestled throughout 104 acres of Villa Doria Pamphilj in Rome, Italy.  

Exploring different methods of Italian agriculture, extensive research was done on silvopastoral systems, transhumance, and intercropping. These techniques are more common in some regions over others, but are present to some degree in all four central regions. One article in particular described in detail four agricultural practices that intercrop species of cereal grain, forage legumes, vegetables, and hay, thus making them silvoarable. “Silvo” meaning the cultivation of trees, and “arable” referring to the harvestable plant material below. The four agricultural practices include olive groves, fruit orchards which include nuts and grape vines, timber production, and oak tree systems.  

For this project, the management of grazing animals was the design driver for this processional agricultural experience. Integrating the concept of transhumance into a silvoarable system changes it to a silvopastoral system. While these different systems are typically practiced separately, this series of connected gardens combines them in different ways from one area to the next, significantly increasing biodiversity, improving soil health and fostering a regenerative ecosystem. 

Landscape typology mapping was conducted through in person experience, as well as through ground and aerial photography. The categories of landscape typology studied were canopy cover, mown grass, tall grass, dense undergrowth, and existing garden areas. Areas of tall grass were focused on for the grazing area as they are not as utilized by the public compared to frequently mown spaces.  

Slopes were analyzed using a digital site model created from a 1950’s 2 meter contour map. Many fruit trees prefer full sun exposure and well draining soils, so areas with a decent slope, primarily facing southwest, were highlighted as optimal orchard locations.  

Now, the final processional park covers about 104 acres of the 490 acre Villa Doria Pamphilj. With the massive scale of this park in mind, the primary focus was not on the design of the individual spaces, rather the coordination and master plan of the grazing schedule, educational experience, and ecological benefits of combining these agricultural practices. 

2023-2024 Design Excellence Award Winner

Mason Brown 
Advanced Landscape Architecture Studio
Instructor: Phoebe Lickwar