Imagine 22 thousand hectares of beech and chestnut woods, the greenest meadows, icy lakes, waterfalls and pastures, home to deer, wolves and golden eagles: this is the Appenino Tosco-Emiliano National Park, an enormous protected area that is spread between Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany, where it includes the provinces of Massa-Carrara and Lucca.
A veritable natural botanical garden, with a rich biodiversity and incredible panoramic views, it is perfect for mountain lovers, fans of hiking and all high-altitude sports, both in summer and winter.
In Tuscany, the Park extends across three municipalities of Garfagnana – Giuncugnano, San Romano in Garfagnana and Villa Collemandina – and five in Lunigiana: Comano, Filattiera, Fivizzano, Licciana Nardi and Bagnone.
The Park includes some incredible peaks, such as Mount Prado, which at 2054 metres is the highest mountain in all of Tuscany and a paradise for hiking aficionados, as is the Mount Sillara (1,861 metres) and the limestone masses of the Pania di Corfino. There is an extraordinary wealth of natural environments, stretching from the summits of the Alpe di Succiso to the forests, which lower down give way to high altitude lakes and open greens.
The oak and beech forests are populated with wild boars, roes and deer, while in between the conifer woods one cannot miss a visit to the so-called Abetina Reale, a forest of white spruce trees at the foot of Mount Prado used for centuries by the Estensi, the owners of a great deal of this land.
The Appennine is everyone’s perfect mountain, from families with children looking for pleasant walks and clean air to bicyclists looking for the perfect mountain biking trails, while in winter, with the first snowfall, the mountain becomes a paradise for those who love skiing or snow-hiking in between the whitened trees.
Cover image credit: Stefano Cannas