riserva naturale Cornate e Fosini

Facing the Tirreno sea: from Gerfalco to Cornate

Trekking in the Cornate nature reserve

This trekking route is 17km long and of medium difficulty. At its highest point it reaches the summit of the Cornate of Gerfalco, from which it’s possible to see as far as the Tirreno sea and the Tuscan archipelago.
 
On a clear day, it’s possible to see all the way to Corsica from here. The trek starts in the small town of Gerfalco and heads towards Fosini castle which sits perched on a sheer drop above the river Pavone. From here, follow the last part of the footpath to the Cornate. This landscape, also known as the Grosseto Metalliferous Hills (Colline Metallifere Grossetane), is as famous for what lies under its surface as for the beautiful landscape above. There are many mineral deposits underground in this area which was mined in the Medieval period.

Gerfalco
This small town is at the foot of the Cornate hills. The town dates back to the Medieval period when the mining of underground minerals first began. The most prominent material extracted from the ground around the town was silver. Because of the value of this material, possession of the area was fiercely fought over by the most powerful nearby towns such as Volterra, Siena and Massa Marittima. The ancient walls of the town are still visible today. This ring of defensive walls was built in the twelfth century and has two gates with round arches, each with two look-out towers. The church of San Biagio and the church of the Misericordia were both also built in the Medieval period and then renovated during the Renaissance. The town is also home to the church of Sant’Agostino which used to be the monastery of the mendicant Agostinian friars.

Fosini Castle
Fosini Castle dates back to the twelfth century and is at the source of the river Pavone, near to Radicondoli. The castle originally belonged to the bishops of Volterra and then came into the possession of the Pannocchieschi family. Finally, it became property of the d’Elci counts. It has a square shape with a scarp base and numerous slits, especially on the upper floors. There is a wonderful view of the wooded Pavone Valley from the main tower.

Cornate di Gerifalco
The highest of the Metalliferous Hills reaches an altitude of over 1000m. This whole area is rich in mineral resources, flora and fauna. On the limestone peak there are open grasslands, while the slopes are covered with thick woods of hornbeam, Turkey oak and Holm oak. Thanks to the presence of rare bird species which risk extinction in Italy, like the peregrine falcon and the lanner falcon, this whole area was given nature reserve status in 1996. It is now known as the Cornate and Fosini Nature Reserve (Riserva Naturale Cornate e Fosini). Inside the park visitors will also find ancient quarries of rosso ammonitico, a variety of marble with a distinctive pink hue.
 
  
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