Cat Sanctuary Of Torre Argentina
Above: Two cats sunbathe over the Roman temples of Torre Argentina in Rome, December 20, 2001.
Quote: "The origins of the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary combine a colourful array of ancient Roman History, international cooperation and even a bit of Hollywood. As you probably know Roman cats have always found shelter amongst the ancient ruins in our city. The numerous postcards here of cats sitting on stumps of old Roman columns, cat napping on the foot of an emperor's statue, or just lounging near the Coliseum testify to the deep rooted image cats have in our city."
"Here at Torre Argentina our feline friends (which now number approximately 250) have found respite from the chaos and traffic amongst the oldest temples in Rome (400-300 BC). Volunteers from different countries, who created the shelter, work here seven days a week." - End quote.
A cat sits near the Roman temples of Torre Argentina in Rome, December 20, 2001.
Stray cats who have made their home in the nooks and crannies of Rome's famed columns are now as protected as their surroundings.
Rome's council has nominated the 150 cats who sunbathe around the Roman temples of "Torre Argentina", an archaeological site in the very center of the eternal city, as a part of the city's historical heritage.
"There is a deep-rooted affection for these cats who have an ancient bond with the city," the council said in a statement.
Cats of all kinds have always lived in the shadow of the ancient stones of Rome, receiving food and care from citizens, leading the council to declare them "biocultural heritage".
"The cats are as old as the ruins themselves, the ancient Romans had them as domestic pets as well and now we need to look after them," Patrizia Tripepi, head of the council's animal rights office.
The historical colony of cats at Torre Argentina, fed and cared for by voluntary organizations, will now be the most pampered stray cat colony of Rome's estimated 300,000 moggies.