Trees are protecting Raphael paintings by soaking up pollution in Rome

Lichen being used to monitor air quality inside the Villa Farnesina

Aldo Winkler

Trees can shield historical monuments and artwork from damage by air pollution, according to research at a villa built in Rome during the Italian Renaissance.

Particulate matter emitted from car brakes can be highly damaging to historical monuments and artwork. Over time, it accumulates on surfaces, creating dark layers and discoloration that often result in irreversible damage.

This is a particular problem for cities like Rome, which are both rich in historical art and monuments, and highly polluted.

In the …

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