Overlooking the city of Arezzo on the northern slopes of Mount Lignano lies a secret, enchanting forest, the Sargiano wood, protected for centuries by the walls of a former Franciscan convent. The place itself, and the care with which the wood has been preserved, bears witness to the profound respect for nature embedded in the Franciscan culture. The Durmast oak flourishes in this verdant corner, however over time the species has become a rare sight in the province of Arezzo and the rest of Italy due to the exploitation of its timber and deforestation for agricultural land.
Boasting a mix of alluring aromas, the wood is fresh and peaceful, even during the hot summer months, thanks to its extensive forest coverage. The wood features several surprises at its center including trees that resemble ‘pifferi’ (holed woodwind instrument) forged by the beaks of green woodpeckers, as well as dense hedges like theatres curtains behind which the red tails of foxes vanish and where small insects can hide behind the foliage and build their nests.
At the entrance to the Sargiano wood, visitors come upon the majestic “Leccio”, a 200-year-old Holm oak connected to the legend of the Aretine brigand Federico Bonbini, also known as Gnicche, who, it is believed, would often organize his ambushes near this impressive tree.