Among the firs and beeches of the Vallambrosa Nature Reserve, two American firs stand out in particular for being the tallest trees in Italy, with a height exceeding 60 metres. They can be reached by walking along ‘The Giants’ Ring’ (L’Anello dei Giganti), a 3.5 km hiking route that's suitable for all levels.
The starting point is on the road that connects Vallombrosa to Passo della Consuma in the area of Il Lago, where you’ll find a former hotel. Here, you can park your car to walk along the CAI 7 forest road while following the wooden signs. After about 20 minutes you’ll reach a crossroads; turn right and after 200 metres you’ll find the two giants.
In a wooded area where American fir trees were planted in the early 20th century, the giants watch over their fellow trees and race towards the sky, holding the national record since 2016. The SuperAlberi ‘arbonauti’ measured the tallest trees in the country, putting the 62.45 metre Douglas fir, nicknamed ‘The Italian Tree King’, in first place. The second tallest was not far behind and just a little shorter at 59.83 metres. For reference, the Tower of Pisa is 57 metres high!
Continuing along the path, you’ll reach the centuries-old settlement of Metato, where dried chestnuts and marroni originated. At the buildings, turn right to go down again along the CAI 8 and in roughly 15 minutes you’ll arrive at ‘La Casetta’. Past the building, turn right again and you will rejoin the tarmac road that takes you back to the starting point.
The length of the ring route is 3.5 km, with a 100 m difference in height, on tarmac roads, dirt roads and footpaths.
Source: “Guide to the trails of Vallombrosa. A thousand years of history and more” written by the Carabinieri Biodiversity Department of Vallombrosa.