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Rocconi Nature Reserve

Naturalistic attractions

A green oasis on Monte Amiata

The Rocconi Nature Reserve covers more than 371 hectares of the top the Albegna Valley, across the municipalities of Semproniano and Roccalbegna, in addition to a neighbouring area of 253 hectares, as well as 130 hectares of the WWF Oasi. The landscape is formed of an irregular and varying geomorphology characterized by hills and mountains of varying altitudes reaching 500m in the north and 200m in the south, marked by the Fosso Paradisone: from its top rock face thickset in limestone to the Albegna and Rigo rivers that run along its base, as well as several caves and caverns set into the right slope, notably the Crepaccio di Rocconi, to the south face, where the mountain softens and recedes into the well-preserved countryside of the Maremmamo region.

Woodland covers both the north and south parts of the reserve. On the north side, a forest dominates the area between the Albegna and Rigo rivers, vaunting species of downy oak, Turkey oak, ash, hornbeam, maple, pear, apple, cherry, rowan and Holly oak, which extends onto the west bank of the rivers. Flowering shrubs and riparian wood dot the pebbly riverbed of the Albegna. The south side is characterized by olive groves, pasture, meadow, and small plots of overgrown arable land interspersed by dense hawthorn, blackberry, plum, elm and dogwood hedges, that play an essential role for the wild fauna. Also of particular interest is the correlation of rock-growing vegetation and the impressive variety of orchids that pop up.

Rare day-time birds of prey, such as the short-toed eagle and the lanner falcon, species on high priority with the EEC due to their decline in Europe, are exclusively found here. Other important animals include the Hermann tortoise and other reptiles, like the four-lined snake, whip snake, water snake, common viper and a species of coronella girondica, as well as other mammals including wildcats, martens, badgers, and occasionally wolves and otters.

The most interesting aspect of the wildlife in Rocconi is above all the birds. A multitude of species on the “European Red List of birds” are present and protected by the Berne Convention, including the Montagu’s harrier, scops owl, woodchat shrike, European honey buzzard, Northern long-eared owl, Common kingfisher, European green woodpecker and the white-throated dipper.