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Photo © Ecomuseo della Val d'Elsa
Photo © Ecomuseo della Val d'Elsa

Castelvecchio Nature Reserve

Naturalistic attractions

The nature reserve in San Gimignano is home to the rare peregrine falcon

The Castelvecchio Nature Reserve is located in the Val d’Elsa, a few kilometres from San Gimignano, and includes the western slope of the Poggio del Comune (624 metres a.s.l.) and extends to the south all the way to the rocky spur where the evocative ruins of Castelvecchio are located, an important medieval fortresses naturally defended by the deep and recessed Botro di Castelvecchio and Botro della Libaia, tributaries of the Elsa River.

The vegetation in the reserve is quite varied: along with an oak forest home to Turkey oaks and downy oaks, there’s also Mediterranean scrub, while on the valley floor, you can find beech trees, sycamores and many yews.

The rocky walls are the perfect environment for the rare peregrine falcon, which spends its winters here.

The flattest stretches of the chalky hills are covered in dense shrublands, which together with the grazing land and farming areas surrounding the reserve provide food for many birds, including the rare short-toed snake eagle, red-backed shrike, African stonechat and common redstart.

More attractions in San Gimignano