The Transplanted Peruvian Culture in Rome: An assessment through images


  • Yarissa K. Matos-Soto Rollins College
  • Valentina Savo University Roma Tre


Ethnobotany, migrants, South America, urban settings


Peruvian immigrants in Rome represent a large community, creating microcosms where people retain strong interpersonal and family bonds. The aim of this photo essay is to portray, through images, some of the transplanted cultural aspects of Peruvians in Rome and to define the ethno-botanical uses of plants that are still present. An ethno-botanical study was carried out during Spring and Summer 2011 in the city of Rome with Peruvian migrants established in Italy for at least 10 years. We used a snowball sampling approach visiting local markets, rrestaurants and churches, performing semi-structured interviews about uses of medicinal and food plants. We looked for the presence of culturally important plant species, taking note of the maintenance, replacement, incorporation and discontinuation of ethno-botanical uses. A total of 21 informants were interviewed reporting the uses of medicinal and food plant species still present in Rome. Many plants are still used for medicinal (38 species) or food purposes (35 species), while fewer plants are used as nutraceuticals (7 species). Medicinal uses described are, sometimes, associated with rituals and spiritual convictions. The relatively high number of food species still present in Rome could be interpreted by the fact that they are more easily accessible and that some are cultivated in Italy. However, informants generally prefer plants that originate from Peru even if sometimes they found fault about the quality of imported plants. Peruvian immigrants were found to attempt to adhere to their cultural identity, in the use of plants, trying to conserve their pre-migratory traditions as much as they can. 

Author Biographies

Yarissa K. Matos-Soto, Rollins College

Biology Department

Valentina Savo, University Roma Tre

Environmental Biology Department




How to Cite

Matos-Soto, Y. K., & Savo, V. (2012). The Transplanted Peruvian Culture in Rome: An assessment through images. Ethnobotany Research and Applications, 10, 095–108. Retrieved from



Photo Essays