The name of the “Monti Rognosi”, or the Rognosi Mountains, could derive from their rather unattractive appearance, though it’s not certain1 What is instead certain is that it was the magma that originated under the oceanic crust in the depths of the sea, 200 million years ago, that was the protagonist of the history of the Monti Rognosi, forming the rocks that compose them which have given rise to a special and rare vegetation. The most prevalent of these rocks is named after reptile skin – serpentinte – because of its dark green colour and scaly appearance. But depending on the minerals they contain, the rocks take on colours ranging from green to red, white, violet and black. Some of these colours are the sign of another wealth—that of the iron and silver and above all copper that has been exploited since prehistoric times, and later by the Etruscans and the Romans, right up to the mid-19th century, with mines being set up, and shafts for the excavation.
Visitors will find it hard to believe that such wild spots, now largely covered with pine trees, are scattered in springtime with bright patches of coloured flowers and later with the slender and delicate plumes of “lino delle fate” (feather grass); the fragrances of thyme and helichrysum float on the air, and the mountains are populated with birds and many other animals. To understand the particularities of the Monti Rognosi and their ancient and recent history, we would suggest that you follow a specially set up historic-naturalistic itinerary which starts from the road connecting Anghiari to Ponte alla Piera, in the vicinity of the Conventino junction. This itinerary will lead you through dark rocks, traversed by miners and smugglers, accompanying you with the stories of the Ponte delle Fate, of the Omo Morto and Castiglion Fatalbecco. Other naturalistic routes cross the heart of the Nature Reserve and Monte Petroso, in the nearby ANPIL Serpentine di Pieve Santo Stefano.