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During the Ancient Roman period, it was an important agricultural and residential area, but it was abandoned during the Middle Ages due to malaria and insufficient water supplies for farming needs. The pastoral beauty of the Campagna inspired the painters who flocked into Rome in the 18th and 19th centuries. During that time, the Campagna became the most painted landscape in Europe (see Gallery below). An excursion into the Roman countryside was an essential part of the Grand Tour.
The region was reclaimed in the 19th and 20th centuries for use in mixed farming, and new settlements have been built. Starting with the 1950s, the expansion of Rome destroyed large parts of the Campagna, all around the city. The only continuous green area where the natural resources of the region were saved from overbuilding is along the Appian Way.
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- Carocci, Sandro; Vendittelli, Marco (2004). L'origine della Campagna Romana. Casali, castelli e villaggi nel XII e XIII secolo. Rome: Società Romana di Storia Patria.