In the Tuscan-Romagna Apennines, included in the territories of Tuscany and Emilia Romagna, the Parco Nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona e Campigna (National Park of the Casentinesi Forests, Mount Falterona and Campigna) covers an area of almost 37,000 hectares managed by the Park Authority of the same name, based in Pratovecchio.
Its forest heritage is one of the most important in Italy and offers endless excursion possibilities in every season for mountain and nature lovers. The protected area, established in 1993, is criss-crossed by more than 600 kilometres of trails for all needs, amidst breathtaking panoramas, millenary forests, sacred places and localities rich in history and traditions.
The park’s altitudes range from 400 to 1.658 metres above sea level, with Monte Falco and Monte Falterona being the highest peaks. The Arno river rises from the latter.
The geology of the Romagna side is characterised by banks of sandstone rock alternating with clay schists and grey marls. Marly arenaceous formation prevails on the Romagna side.
From a geomorphological point of view, the entire park is characterised by heterogeneous emergences and diversified landscapes. Woods, pastures, meadows, cultivated land and areas where bare rock is the distinguishing feature alternate seamlessly.
Wild areas furrowed by steep torrents that form small waterfalls and cascades of incomparable beauty, such as that of the Acquacheta, are combined with man-made places where you can admire villages, castles, ancient parish churches, sanctuaries and mills. The lack of natural lake basins is compensated for by the picturesque artificial reservoir of Ridracoli.
Four fifths of the park territory is wooded. Within the state forests is the Riserva Naturale Integrale di Sasso Fratino (Sasso Fratino Integral Nature Reserve), the first to be established in Italy in 1959 and a Unesco heritage site for its exceptional value. Other integral reserves are those of Monte Falco, La Pietra, Monte Penna and Rovino. Biogenetic nature reserves within the Casentino forests are those of Campigna, Scodella, Camaldoli and Badia Prataglia.
Due to the variety of environments, the park is divided into four zones, classified according to the protection regime to which they are subject. The flora includes 1,357 recorded species. Alongside the extraordinary beech and fir woods, one can observe oak, chestnut and mixed deciduous broadleaf forests.
The fauna is characterised by the most important wolf population in the northern Apennines. There are 21 mammal species present, 139 bird species, while amphibians and reptiles boast 23 different species.