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Photo © TOB
Photo © TOB

Balze Natural Protected Area

Naturalistic attractions

A unique landscape on the slopes of Pratomagno

The Balze Natural Protected Area is located in the Upper Valdarno, on the slopes of Pratomagno, between the Resco and Ciuffenna torrents, and extends from the Municipality of Reggello to Terranuova Bracciolini. It was established to protect the “Balze”, an unusual geological phenomenon.

The area’s geological nature led to the formation of special forms of erosion such as ravines, bluffs and pillars, which created a distinctive landscape of considerable scenic and environment interest. The most striking formations are known as the “pilastri di Poggitazzi and Piantravigne pillars”. The latter is especially evocative: it’s a village surrounded by eroded faces and is connected to nearby areas by bridges that cross the gorges.

Balze protected area
Balze protected area - Credit: Emiliano Burzagli

The colors of this landscape, which range from gray to ochre, mingle with the green of the oak groves and cultivated fields, and as one travels through this area of the Valdarno, it becomes clear why Leonardo da Vinci was so fascinated by it, so much so that he portrayed it behind the Mona Lisa.