The Park of Appennino Tosco-Emiliano
Between Cisa and Forbici Passes, the forest ridges separating Tuscany from. Emilia give way to a real mountain environment. The summits of Alpe di Succiso, Mt. Prado, and Mt. Cusna go beyond the 2,000 meters, the forests give way to rocks, lakes, and high-mountain grasslands. Appennino Tosco Emiliano National Park has an extraordinary environmental richness, from grasslands to blueberry moorlands to the steepest summits and animals like the wolf, the mouflon, the roe deer and the golden eagle. Appennino Tosco-Emiliano National Park is also rich in important historical-cultural evidances of different historical times from archaeological sites of the Iron Age to the trenches of the Second World War.
The Park of Hundred Lakes
This park covers a section of the eastern Appennino Parmense, at the border with the provinces of Reggio-Emilia and Massa-Carrara. The mountain area is characterized at lower altitudes (about 600m a.s.l.) by a gentle agricultural landscape where the few cultivated fields alternate with permanent meadows, surrounded by long hedges and mixed broadleaf woodlands. At the highest altitudes (from 1,500 to 1,800m above sea-level) the territory is dominated by a rocky countryside and by the moors, the peatbogs, and the glacial lakes. The ancient glaciers occupying the valleys of the Parma and the Cedra have shaped the territory leaving evident signs such as the glacial cirques and the morainic deposits. They have also contributed to the formation of the main part of the lakes of the Park. An intact environment, where for centuries nature has lived together with man to give birth to excellent agri-foodstuffs known all over the world, like Parmigiano-Reggiano PDO and Parma Ham
The Park of the Apuan Alps
The Alpi Apuane are one of the most original mountain areas in Italy, for their geomorphology and the variety of their landscapes. The great charm of these mountains is for their massive profiles, the harsh morphology, the deep valleys, and the very steep slopes. The resemble the Alps but within a few kilometres from the small coastal plain in Versilia, the Apuane rise to reach almost the 2.000 m of altitude with Mt. Pisanino (m 1947). From their tops you can enjoy unique panorama on all the coast from Portovenere to Piombino, on the islands of Arcipelago Toscano, Corsica, the Appenine and, in the clear days of winter, also the Alps can be seen. They are protected by a regional Park since 1985. The net of hiking trails is well developed and organized, several mountain huts can offer you something to eat or drink when you decide to stop during your excursions.
The Park of Orecchiella
The State Natural Reserves of Lamarossa, Orecchiella and Pania di Corfino were protected by the Park of Orecchiella which has been included in the National Park of the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano to testify the beauty of this territory and their natural importance. The Orecchiella Park is on Garfagnana's Apennine slope and is located between the municipal districts of Piazza al Serchio, San Romano, Sillano and Villa Collemandina. It is an area protected by the State Forest Corps (Corpo Forestale dello Stato) and characterized by beautiful forests of beech, chestnut and fir trees. It is populated by numerous species of wildlife such as the Apennine wolf, bucks, mouflons and the wild boars. Its skies are dominated by various birds of prey like the hawk and the royal eagle. Following the Bear or Deer Trails you can reach the bear or deer enclosures where you can meet these wonderful animals.
The natural reserve of Orrido di Botri
Known as "canyon of the Tuscany" the Orrido di Botri is one of the most appreciated naturalistic zones of the Valley of Serchio. The Rio Pelago has cut a dramatic gorge through the limestone of the Appenine mountains. This canyon is a mixture of soft greens of trees and the white/grey walls of limestone. The impressive calcareous gorge, characterized by deep steep walls, as high as 200 meters, and in some parts only a few meters apart, is not long - perhaps an hour and a half to two hours of walking excursion - but it presents you with the opportunity to enjoy a side of Italy other than the tourist-clogged streets of Florence. The nature reserve of Orrido di Botri and Balzonero was established in 1971 making it possible to preserve this special site, where flora and fauna find an ideal, intact and protected habitat. Thanks to its intact nature the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), still nests here along with many other predator bird species. There are two itineraries of impressive beauty and varying difficulty, but it is quite a demanding excursion, with several fords and slippery surfaces. For this reason it is obligatory to wear protective helmets, supplied by guides themselves before starting the tour.