Abbadia San Salvatore

Abbey of Sant'Antimo

Albarese

Acquapendente


anghiari

Archipelago Toscano


Arcidosso


Arezzo


Asciano


Badia di Coltibuono


Bagno Vignoni

Barberino Val d'Elsa

Beaches

Bolsena Lake


Bomarzo

Brunello di Montalcino

Buenconvento

Campagnatico


Capalbio


Castel del Piano


Castelfiorentino

Castell'Azarra

Castellina in Chianti


Castelmuzio


Castelnuovo Bererdenga


Castiglioncello Bandini


Castiglione della Pescaia


Castiglione d'Orcia


Castiglion Fiorentino


Celleno


Certaldo


Chinaciano Terme


Chianti


Chiusi


Cinigiano


Città di Castello

CivitÀ di Bagnoregio


Colle Val d'Elsa


Cortona


Crete Senesi


Diaccia Botrona

Isola d'Elba

Firenze


Follonica


Gaiole in Chianti


Gavorrano

Gerfalco


Greve in Chianti


Grosseto


Lago Trasimeno


La Foce


Manciano


Maremma


Massa Marittima


Montagnola Senese


Montalcino


Monte Amiata


Monte Argentario

montecalvello

Montefalco


Montemassi


Montemerano


Monte Oliveto Maggiore


Montepulciano


Monteriggioni


Monticchiello


Monticiano


Orbetello


Orvieto


Paganico


Parco Naturale della Maremma


Perugia


Piancastagnaio


Pienza


Pisa


Pitigliano

Prato

Radda in Chianti


Roccalbegna


Roccastrada


San Bruzio


San Casciano dei Bagni


San Galgano


San Gimignano


San Giovanni d'Asso


San Quirico d'Orcia


Sansepolcro


Santa Fiora


Sant'Antimo


Sarteano


Saturnia


Scansano


Scarlino


Seggiano


Siena


Sinalunga


Sorano


Sovana


Sovicille

Talamone

Tarquinia


Tavernelle Val di Pesa


Torrita di Siena


Trequanda


Tuscania


Umbria


Val d'Elsa


Val di Merse


Val d'Orcia


Valle d'Ombrone


Vetulonia


Viterbo

Volterra




 
Walking in Tuscany
             
 
Itineraries in Parco Faunistico en La Riserva naturale del Monte Labbro

Walking trails in Tuscany Surroundings
       
   

Parco Faunistico | La Riserva naturale del Monte Labbro


   
   

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. [www.parcodeglietruschi.it]

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.

How to get there: from Arcidosso follow the directions to Roccalbegna and after about 8 km turn right taking the road to Mount Labbro.

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 excurursion 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.
Links

Siele mine
Panorama
   
   
 
   



Hidden secrets in Tuscany Tuscan farmhouses | Podere Santa Pia


         
Rocca di Tentennano
Podere Santa Pia
 
Podere Santa Pia
 
Madonna di Vitaleta Chapel, San Quirico d'Orcia


         

Villa Saracini

Villa I Tatti
Villa di Geggiano

Villa Monaciano

 

 
Florence, San Miniato al Monte
Florence, Duomo
Orvieto, Duomo
Florence, San Miniato al Monte
         

The Italian Chestnut Tree - Castanea sativa

The European Chestnut may not be the obvious tree for an Italian garden as it is common in gardens across northern Europe in far milder climates. However, the chestnut tree can stake a claim to a large slice of Italian history both cultural and culinary.
The chestnut tree is native to Europe and can grow to more than 30m in the cooler, mountainous areas of Italy and can live for many years. The tree has long narrow and serrated leaves and bears yellow flowers in May and June which in turn form the famous chestnuts. The chestnuts are covered in a very spiny husk that possesses a pleasant butter yellow colour. The fruits ripen towards October and small stalls roasting this sweet nut can be found in many Italian cities from autumn until January and buying a small bag of roasted chestnuts has become an integral part of Italian culture in this period. Lovers can be found eating a bag of chestnuts during a stroll in the autumn, as an alternative to eating an ice cream during the warmer summer months. Although this is a romantic image, the fruit of the chestnut tree has served a far more important and practical purpose in the past – one of sheer survival!
To the Italians that inhabit the countryside this magnificent and un-demanding tree is known as the bread tree because for many centuries the chestnuts were roasted in huge numbers laid upon thin hazel branches over hot coals and they were then ground down into flour in order to make a kind of polenta. The flour could also be used to make bread, in the absence of grain flour. This polenta and bread formed the staple diet and the only carbohydrate intake of mountain communities and rendered the cultivation of this tree fundamental to their very existence.
Trees were planted in large numbers and allowed to grow until they reached around 10 – 15m tall and they would then have been literally decapitated to a height of around 3m during the winter to stunt vegetative growth and improve the size, quality and flavour of the trees' fruit – the chestnuts. These stunted yet high yielding trees are still farmed today in large fields (castagnetti) and can still be seen in small towns like Piancastagnaio (meaning: the plain of the chestnut fields) in Tuscany. The old men that generally tend these castagnetti also thin the large branches of the tree annually and then use the wood as firewood, so the tree provides them with more than just food. In fact the roofs of houses during the earlier centuries were generally constructed using chestnut timber as it is a very durable and easily available timber. Therefore, it is safe to say that the chestnut tree has held a very important and somewhat symbolic place in Italy’s cultural history.

In a gardening context in Italy the chestnut tree can survive on very baron and poor soil but requires a cool winter and moisture to form healthy fruits. A small wood comprising of chestnut trees begins the year with a bright lime-green leaf canopy and then ends the year in a stunning butter-yellow that sits magnificently against the clear blue skies of autumn. The leaves tend to render the soil beneath the tree canopy slightly acidic which will favour acid-loving plants but hinder most alkaline loving Mediterranean plants. If you were to choose this plant to create a small wood you will be granted with the many useful aspects to this tree, both romantic, practical and edible.

[By Jonathan Radford | www.livinginitaly.com/italian_chestnut_tree.htm]