la foresta del brattello
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The Forest of Brattello

On the border between Tuscany and Emilia Romagna

Pontremoli
The forest, property of the county of Tuscany, takes up an area of 322 hectares in the commune of Pontremoli. Straddling the ridge that marks the border between Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany, the Brattello forest extends prevalently in south-west and north-east directions, between the pass of the same name and the Pass of Borgallo at 900 - 1125 metres above sea level (Monte Cucco). The landscape is moderately steep for the most part although there are some areas with rocky outcrops and gradients of over 50%. For years the forest served the purpose of producing wood (the deciduous trees were principally beech and chestnut) and providing space for pasturing. As the area officially became property of the state and the farming community began to disperse, the vast open spaces gradually gave way to woodland as programmes of reforestation were incessantly employed using conifers and, to a lesser degree, broad-leaved species, with a view to protecting and conserving the terrain as well as exploiting the area more in terms of tourism.
Currently the most proliferous trees are the conifers, including the Austrian pine (the most widespread, covering about 35% of the total wooded area), Douglas fir, Norway spruce, silver fir and the European larch. The broad-leaved deciduous trees or high forest include beech, sweet chestnut, Turkey oak, white hornbeam, sycamore, goat willow, hazel, wild cherry, alder and the false acacia. Planted artificially there are also silver birches and aspens. The terrain is covered almost exclusively with rupestrian fescue or brome grass. Shrubby and grassy areas also contain heather, juniper, hairy greenweed, heath, bilberry bushes, bracken, hawkweed, woodrush and woodsage while along the banks of the mountain torrents typical riparian hydric vegetation can be found, including alders and grey alders.
Hares, foxes and wild boar are uniformly distributed over the terrain, along with squirrels, while porcupines, badgers, weasels, stoats and polecats though present, are not so easily observed. The species of birds observable in the forest are for the most part those common to all the woods in Tuscany - blackcaps, chiffchaffs, robins, chaffinches, wrens, jays can all be found, as can bullfinches, thrushes, coal and blue-tits and cuckoos, although these last are more typically found in the Apennine woods. Also the rock bunting and honey buzzard are present, although this last is slightly more difficult to spot compared to the commoner buzzard and sparrowhawk. Since the nearby Brattello mountain pass is among those figuring in the migratory routes of the avifauna, it is as such officially one of the areas to protect, particularly during migratory periods. The Corps of Forest Rangers is in charge of the protection and preservation of the environment as well as the promotion of tourism in the form of excursions on foot or with mountain-bike following specifically prepared routes. The Forest Administration is also interested in linking up the footpath network to other route networks such as that of the Ligurian Mountains, or the Great Apennine Escursions which in turn connects up to the paths of Trekking Lunigiana.
Pontremoli
Discovering ancient Apua: art, nature and traditional cuisine
Pontremoli is Tuscany's northernmost town and one of the most quintessential centers of the Lunigiana region. Set on a plain surrounded by hills and mountains, the town is a treasure trove of artistic memory and monumental relics. Crossing its medieval bridges or strolling along its paved walkways is a bit like time traveling back to a mythical age. ...
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