The Tuscan Tiber valley takes you into mountains by turns lush and rocky. These peaks, which have inspired artists of the stature of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Piero della Francesca, are perfect for trekking or mountain biking, horseriding or simply for enjoying the peace at high altitude.
Let's start with Sestino, a place which dates back to the age of the Ancient Romans. The land is dotted with little mountain towns and nature reserves, of which the best known is without a doubt that of Sasso di Simone e Simoncello, two enormous, fossil-rich calcareous blocks that rest upon a bed of coloured clay. Woods and meadows make up the heart of the reserve, full of maple, beech and ash trees; with a bit of luck, you will spot chamois, roe deer and foxes.
In the heart of the Apennines, where Tuscany borders Le Marche and Emilia-Romagna, you will find yourself in the municipality of Badia Tedalda, the populated heart of the Alpe della Luna Nature Reserve. Inside this protected area you will find forests of beech and Turkey oak, interspersed with old settlements. Here you might spot wolves, wild boar, countless species of birds, amphibians and insects. The most spectacular place has to be the Ripa della Luna, a rocky rise around 250 metres high in the shape of a lunar crescent, on the north slope of the Monte dei Frati, the highest peak in the nature reserve at 1453 metres. A long, long time ago, it seems that religious rites in honour of the moon took place around here.
The Rognosi mountain chain unfolds around Anghiari. This range is interesting because it is composed solely of ophiolite, a magmatic rock that nourishes some unique vegetation. Hard though it is, juniper manages to grow on it, with some examples hundreds of years old; heather and Helichrysum italicum thrive here too. This is also the only part of Tuscany where you can find Daphne odorosa.