The Sasso di Simone is an imposing limestone plateau that rises up to a height of 1.204 m. and dominates the Montefeltro territory with Simoncello and Monte Carpegna. Since 1996 it has been part of the Sasso di Simone and Simoncello Nature Reserve, straddling both the territory of Arezzo and Pesaro – Urbino and two regions, Tuscany and Marche.
Apparently, it owes its name to a hermit named Simone, who chose the mountain as the perfect place for his spiritual retreat.
The two imposing mountain ranges create an unmistakable skyline, visible from miles away. To make their appearance even more suggestive is the contrast between the gentle and meadows-covered course of the lower slopes and the steep limestone and bare rock of the upper ones.
The flora and fauna of the Reserve are of great interest. Here we can find luxuriant turkey oaks, beeches, hornbeams, maples and ash trees. Among the most common animal species we find the Apennine wolf, the fallow deer, the roe deer, the fox and the wild boar. During a walk, you may also come across squirrels or hares.
The two mountains are dotted with castles, fortresses and suggestive villages of ancient foundation, but the real jewel of the park is the City of the Sun, commissioned by the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo I Medici in the 16th century as a symbol of the power of the Medici dynasty to the furthest reaches of the Grand Duchy. It is a real fortified city with two access gates and made up of about fifty houses, all the same in shape and size, as well as a church, a court and prisons. The city was equipped with at least three cisterns and also casemates, weapons depots, an oven, a forge and a loggia for the market. From here it was possible to reach both the nearby castles and villages, and the city of Florence: the latter, through a paved road and thus clearly considered the main one. The city was inhabited for about a century, but already in the second half of the 17th century, due to the prohibitive climatic conditions in the winter period, it had already been abandoned and disarmed. Today its remains can be admired: stones that, as sentinels, keep watching over the territory.
In the park there are numerous itineraries suitable for everyone: paths immersed in nature, perfect for those who are looking for the most suggestive views; itineraries that combine nature and culture or even experiences in which nature, history and typical gastronomy intertwine.
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