The well organised tourist reception structures of Monte Amiata make this a popular destination all year round and a perfect base from which to explore the marvels of Tuscany. From a naturalistic point of view, this region offers ever changing scenery and colours, from snow in the winter to fresh temperatures in the summer.
Among the most interesting excursions on the Monte Amiata are the Sentieri della Castagna – six itineraries for walkers and one for drivers. During the chestnut gathering season in autumn, from September 15th to November 15th, tourists are only allowed here accompanied by a guide. Some chestnut trees in this area are over 500 years old.
Tougher excursions either on horseback, trekking or by mountain bike, are provided by the Anello della Montagna itinerary that runs for 28 kilometres around the circumference of the old volcano.
A number of nature reserves have been instituted on Monte Amiata, such as the Parco Faunistico dell’Amiata, which is within the Riserva Naturale del Monte Labbro – not far from Arcidosso – and contains abundant fauna ranging from deer to wolves and a unique breed of wild donkey known as Amiatina.
The Parco Faunistico in Arcidosso
Mount Amiata Faunal Park is part of Mount Labbro Nature Reserve. It spreads over some 200 hectares and is dedicated to the study, protection and safeguard of a number of animal species semi-wildly living within large areas. It’s currently a landmark for investigations on environmental issues and also hosts many cultural events on various topics, from botany to contemporary arts. The park fauna includes Apennine wolfs (which can be spotted from the loggias along the footpaths provided), saltire mousy donkeys, Egyptian vultures, wild boars and ungulates such as fallow and roe-deers, chamois and mouflons. A large number of footpaths and natural tracks are provided for didactic and educational itineraries. Expert environmental guides are also available to accompany visitors within the park.
Visitor Centre of the Faunistic Park of Monte Amiata: with numerous exhibitions, panels and descriptions of the Maremman mountain territory, it contains photos and reproductions which describe the morphological characteristics of the area, its geographic position and its evolutionary history. You can also admire and observe the life of the flora and fauna of the park, thanks to the presence of video cameras spread throughout the centre.
CENTRO VISITE DEL PARCO FAUNISTICO DEL MONTE AMIATA
Parco Faunistico dell’Amiata, Loc. Podere de Nobili, Arcidosso
Tel. 0564 96 68 67
Mount Labbro Nature Reserve
Mount Labbro, also known as Labro (1,194 m above sea level), rises on the South-Western side of the Mount Amiata massif. Its Nature Reserve spreads over some 600 hectares between torrent Zancona and river Albegna.
The Reserve hosts 193 species of vertebrates including 117 birds, 53 mammals, 13 reptiles and 10 amphibians. Many are threatened with extinction. Among the most interesting species in the park it’s worth mentioning short-toed eagles, lanner falcons, spotted salamanders, yellow-bellied toads, barn owls, noctules, wolfs and badgers.
How to get there: from Arcidosso follow the directions to Roccalbegna and after about 8 km turn right taking the road to Mount Labbro
Opening hours: Open every day (except on Monday) from 07.15 to sunset. The reserve can be visited following the available foot tracks.
The Pigelleto Nature Reserve
The Pigelleto Nature Reserve extends over a territory of 862 hectars between Siena and Grosseto. It is located in Piancastagnaio, a small town South-East from Monte Amiata in Tuscany.
It used to host one of the most important quicksilver mines of Monte Amiata, today completely abandoned. The Environmental Education Centre 'La Direzione' is inside the Reserve itself and includes the Visitors Centre, the Environmental Education Labs and facilities for visitors who wish to spend some time in peace and tranquillity.
The Pigelleto Nature Reserve takes its name from the ancient term 'Pigello', with which the locals of Monte Amianta used to call the silver fir, the most common tree of this part of Tuscany. The silver fir or Abies Alba is a tree that can be up to 50 mt. tall, with a long clear bole surmounted by a pyramidal crown.
How to get there: from Piancastagnaio - take the road to Castell'Azzara. The Nature Reserve is only 6 Km away.
There are many excursion paths that run through the Nature Reserve of Pigelleto. Some paths are part of the marked trail n° 16 (Saragiolo - Miniera del Siele - Castell'Azzara) and n° 17 (Pod. La Roccaccia - Castell'Azzara) created by the Town of Monte Amiata.
The Sentiero Natura (the Nature Trial) begins at Podere La Roccaccia and ends at the Environmental Education Centre 'La Direzione' for a 2.5 km long walk inside the Reserve. Along the way you will find many information sighs about the animals and palnts. At times it coincides with the trial n° 16 that connects Saragolo with the Siele Mines.
The Sentiero del Tasso (the Yew Trial) is part of Route n° 16 and is almost 2 km long. It takes you into the most beautiful and interesting part of the Reserve. This is why visitors must be accompanied by guides and rules are very stricted. During the trip you will see chstneut tress, beeches, silver firs and fern trees. There are also wet lands created by permant water sources.
The Sentiero del Ponte (Bridge Trial) has been traced by the community of Monte Amiata and is 4 km long. It is inside the Reserve creating an 8 whch then coincides with the Nature Trial. Along hte way there is a break area in an old ruin (podere s. Ignazio) surrounded by beeches.
The Sentiero Ciclabile (Cycling Trail) is part of the route n° 16 and n° 17 and is almost 6 km long. The asphalt roads are restricted to mountain bikes only. It runs through the woods of the Reserve and arrives at the cultivated lands that surround the Reserve. It goes up to Poggio Roccone and then down towards the Siele Mines.