Collodi Butterfly House

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What is the Collodi Butterfly House?
farfallaThe Collodi Butterfly House is home to hundreds of butterflies from tropical and equatorial areas – where the largest and most colourful butterflies are found. They are alive and free to fly around a luxuriant tropical garden with plants, flowers and fruits, thanks to a perfect reconstruction of their original environment. Here, butterflies and moths can court, feed and breed in perfect harmony with their host environment, which is kept free from predator insects and spiders by small birds, which eat them without disturbing the caterpillars or butterflies.

You can stroll through this fascinating world and see the various stages of development, from egg to butterfly, notice the differences between diurnal butterflies and nocturnal moths, and discover the defensive and communicative purposes of the colours and designs on the caterpillars and butterfly wings, which aid their survival. These intimidate or deceive predators and help conceal the butterfly from them or attract a partner for reproduction.

The Collodi Butterfly House has restored a wonderful butterfly population to the Garzoni Garden, similar to those that flew among the flower beds before the agricultural and industrial pollution of modern life changed their appearance and reduced their numbers.

Like the Garzoni Garden around it, the Collodi Butterfly House is a beautiful man-made environment that shapes nature; and not only beautiful. Through the wonder and attention aroused by its beauty, it seeks to increase the awareness and understanding that even when humans intervene, animal and plant wildlife can and should preserve their balance through proper interaction and interdependence among living creatures.

The Building

The Collodi Butterfly House is a splendid greenhouse building made with stone and self-supporting glass. The structure is bright and air-conditioned for perfect temperature and humidity. It was designed and built by Emilio Faroldi and Maria Pilar Vettori of Studio Faroldi and Associates as a unique example of the use of structural glass (spider glass) for this purpose.
The Collodi Butterfly House was built on the site of some abandoned greenhouses. It was inaugurated in 2007 and blends so harmoniously with the Garzoni Garden that it seems as if it has always been there.

The butterflies, acquired in the chrysalis stage from specialised breeding facilities, develop here in a special incubator, although they feel so at home in this environment that they reproduce spontaneously. If you look closely, you can see their eggs deposited on leaves or branches, or leaves nibbled down to their stems by the caterpillars, as they stock up with energy from the tender parts of their favourite plants. They will then hang from a branch to form the chrysalis from which a butterfly will emerge. 

Unlike caterpillars, butterflies feed on sugary nectar produced by plants or open fruits, which the custodians of the facilities prepare specially for them. Some fruit-bearing plants are “self-pollinating”, such as papaya, one of which thrives in the Butterfly House, or the orange trees that adorn many of the avenues in the Garzoni Garden.

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