THE NATIONAL PARK OF THE CASENTINO FORESTS, MONTE FALTERONA AND CAMPIGNA
Close to the Farm and between Romagna and Tuscany, we find one of the most beautiful green areas in Europe: The National Park of the Casentino Forests, Monte Falterona and Campigna.
It measures 36,000 hectares and includes woods, rivers, birds, archaeological sites, mammals, flowers, rocks, waterfalls, crests, valley and spiritual places. It’s a protected area among the provinces of Forlì-Cesena, Arezzo and Florence.
Here there are special places for studying and observe the vegetation of the Park: The Botanic Garden of Valbonella in Corniolo (municipality of Santa Sofia) and the Arboretum “Simeoni” in Badia Prataglia. Not to mention the famous strict nature reserve “Sasso Frattino”, the first established in Italy (1959), where only activities allowed are research and surveillance. It’s a unique example of natural evolution of the woods with no human interference.
The great extension of the woods, the presence of big trees of different age and the scarce human influence make the Park an excellent habitat for wild animals.
Obviously mushrooms are abundant in these woods, and they carry on a constant ecological recycle, so they have a very important role.
The park also hosts more than 60 different geological formations that can be discovered while hiking. The most famous one is a marl and sandstone fomation that was born out of the sea in which the two stones alternate each other in different layers.
From a spiritual and historical point of view, within the Park we can find the thousand-year-old Holy Hermitage of Camaldoli which is perfect for retreats and meditation and the shrine of La Verna, located on the mountain that was donated to Saint Francis and converted into a place of hermitage.
The territory of the Park also includes nice villages that have kept intact their historical traditions and natural beauties. An example is represented by Bagno di Romagna, which is the most important town of the Savio Valley and it owns its popularity also to its famous thermal spas. However, there are many other places of historical interest or villages that have been abandoned after the II World War that it would be a pity not to include in your hiking trails.
You can explore majestic and full-of-life woods by hiking or riding a mountain bike and each season offers a different landscape. In summer it is possible to go throughout the Park beneath a luxuriant and thick vegetation, while spring is an explosion of colours and sounds. Autumn is colourful: the vegetation becomes yellow and red and it definitely warm everyone’s heart. Finally, when winter arrives and snow with it, covering everything with a white blanket and muffling the sounds. Every hike in this season turns into a true meditation. Please check our article on “Snowshoeing“.
If you like to have your lunch and enjoy nature at the same time, the crests will offer you many places with breath-taking views. Otherwise, there are many tourist facilities where you can taste typical local food such as the fresh cheese “Raviggiolo” or some Tuscan “pecorino” (sheep milk cheese) possibly with fir honeydew. In Autumn we suggest you to have roasted chestnuts with some good wine either from Romagna or Tuscany. Obviously there is a wide choice of meat ant and wild game, but if you have the chance we also recommend you to taste some porcino mushrooms, better if freshly harvested.
The National Park of the Casentino Forests, Monte Falterona and Campigna offers more than 600 km of marked trails. In particular we advise the section of GEA – Grande Escursione Appenninica (Great Apennine Excursion) and the trail that goes from the Muraglione Pass to the shrine of La Verna which is very interesting both from a landscape and historical point of view.