Among these efforts, the land-reclamation project to combat malaria (bonifica integrale) that started on the Pontine Marshes in the 1920s was symbolically the most important. Ponds were drained, glades filled, forests cleared, new towns founded and settlers relocated from all over the country. The regime claimed to have eradicated malaria in the region, but it also destroyed many wetland ecosystems in the process.
The creation in 1934 of the Parco Nazionale del Circeo (Circeo National Park) came as a by-product of this environmentally ruinous reclamation program. Of the original 20,700 hectares of forest and swampland, 3,270 were put under protection to serve, in accordance with the aims of Fascist propaganda, as a reminder of how the region supposedly looked during the Roman Empire. Archaeological remains and water buffaloes symbolized a lost rural majesty. Moreover, 700 hectares were reforested with alien species, such as eucalyptus, in order to recreate the windbreaks formerly provided by the Mediterranean marquis but damaged during the reclamation works.