One thing I looked forward to on my second trip to Rome was visiting Largo di Torre Argentina, a square filled with Roman ruins where there is a cat sanctuary. These aren’t just any Roman ruins, this square is believed to be the spot where Julia Caesar was assassinated the 15 March 0044BC. This large area is the best play area a cat could ask for, with lots of nooks and crannies, ruins to climb around and adoring tourist watching on all day long.
During my first visit to Rome I stumbled across the ruins hot and tired from the mornings tourist activities. A movement below caught my eye and I realized it was a cat, then saw another and another. It was a fantastic site to see I was very happy to see these kitties in such a great place and ruins being used for something so useful.
The Roman cats took up residence in the ruins shortly after the first excavations in 1929, they had helpers and cat lovers stopping by and feeding them, but it was not until 1994 that organized help came along for the kitties. The story of those helping the cats is worth a read, you can find it here: http://www.romancats.com/index_eng.php
This visit I was able to visit the area where the carers of the cats work. It is an area built under the side-walk at the edge of ruins (just down a flight of stairs). This area allows for quarantine of the new arrivals and a place for those too injured for release. The Torre Argentina cat sanctuary is one that after nursing the cats back to health, vaccinating and fixing them they are then released or adopted. Those released (for being too feral to adopt) some go off and do their own thing and some stick around making the ruins their home. There are aprox 250 kitties living in this area, but you will be lucky to see 20.
Cats are one of my favourite subjects to photograph, so cats with Roman ruins as a back drop is a fantastic opportunity for me so I went a bit snap happy! Here are a few of the shots I took.