The most interesting animals that inhabit the parks and gardens of Lombardy certainly include butterflies that fascinate the imaginary world of humans, although their presence is often taken for granted and considered insignificant. On the contrary, the presence of the Lepidoptera is of fundamental importance for scientific research because they are excellent biomarkers.


The presence or absence of butterflies, in fact, represents an important sign of the health of the environment as they are completely dependent on it at the various stages of their development. Moreover, the science of biology has always studied these animals to find out the basic evolutionary mechanisms that have led to today’s biodiversity.
Numerous species of the Lepidoptera are born and live for a short period of time without ever leaving the place where they were born, while others have a long migratory journey, moving from one continent to another. Most caterpillars are nurtured by one plant where it feeds and grows, while others are predators and feed on other insects or some live and are nurtured inside anthills.
Colourful and endowed with exceptional chromatic variations on their wings, chests and abdomen, butterflies have developed incredible defensive abilities ranging from the ability to use poisonous substances to disguise themselves with camouflage colours, to the use of ingenious and crucial escape strategies.
Besides being given a multiple iconographic importance, Western culture has always considered the butterfly as an animal capable of revealing to man its fragile, perishable condition, becoming a metaphysical symbol. For Christianity, for example, the butterfly is identified with death and resurrection and is often accompanied by other Eucharistic symbols or the birth of Baby Jesus. More generally, however, the butterfly has always enclosed mystical values of the union between the visible and invisible world and between earthly conditions and otherness. Hence for artists and iconologists, the butterfly is a sort of tangent point between time and eternity.
An animal with an interesting history, the butterfly is one of the animals that in the last 50 million years have given rise to a vast number of species, so much so that there are about 20,000 existing today. This number is expected to increase if we include night moths, which brings the number of butterflies up to over 165,000. Moths, in fact, make up the second largest group of animals in the world, second only to beetles.