Enchanting forest! After my first visit in 2012, my trips into the National Park of Foreste Casentinesi and Monte Falterona became more and more frequent, but every year I wait for this great event, Autunno slow, to enjoy my special visit and meet again my friend Franco Locatelli, official WST (Wonderful StoryTeller) of the park.
The little creatures of the park
This time weather was really wonderful: sun, a slightly fog and a nice temperature let us enjoy the forest and its mysterious world. The mission was, as usual, to catch the romantic colors of the Fall, while the trees are preparing themselves for the winter: oak, ancient sequoias, and all the other trees that are part of the forest and of the biogenetic reserve of Sasso Frattino.
You should know that the park, born around the XI century thanks to the Camaldoli Benedictine monk Romualdo, covers 32.000 h. between Tuscany (especially the Casentino area) and Romagna (the Tuscan Romagna). The forest was once an economic resource: the wood was used to build boats, houses, palace, churches. That is why it was managed by the Museo of Opera del Duomo in Florence. The Duomo of the town was mainly built with the material of the forest.
Our itinerary this morning is different from the one we did in 2012. In ancient times this place was full of people, medieval boroughs were scattered throughout the Bidente River Valley which separates in three other lines. Pietrapazza, Corniolo and Ridracoli are full of history. Here the fascist age built elementary schools around the old buildings with all their legends. But before that, Etruscan and Romans and, after that the Tuscan domination of the Medici Family, lived in the harshness of the forest until the 50’s of the last century when people left the mountains to get a better life.
From Camaldoli into the forest
The economy here was very poor: mills didn’t milled grain but rather chestnuts. Poor and simple dishes are now the richness of the local restaurants, which are not forgetting the history of a community floating across the border between Tuscany and Romagna. It was always a log and dangerous journey. My mother told me that his grandfather used to leave his wills before leaving for Florence. No one would never know what could happen.
Stopping along the way we are discovering some of these old histories, such as the hotsprings well (waters smells very bad because of the minerals inside; women used to come here to easy their motherhood, following an old legend), the old cemetery made of stones, the little Romanic churches.
Nature unveiled to me in such a wonderful way that I was astonished all the day. The forest is full of little creatures: animals and plants live together in this magnificent ecosystem, you simply need to take your time and observe.
The colors during this time are vivid but at the same time the mix slowly going from one to another as if they were the result of an inspired painter: yellow to light brown, then to red, passing through orange. On the other hand the greens of the musks on the trees, of the grass on the ground, the grey of the mist and the spiders’ webs and the white of the sun coming outside the clouds.
Lama and the biogenetic reserve
As in 2012, the arrival was in the House of guard park, at Lama flat plane. This place was once even an industrial site, not only wood but also a crystal factory established by Mr. Karl Simon, a german scientist who arrived here in 1838 and built also a sawmill, organising the wood working with an internal railway, going from Lama to Mandrioli pass.
At the end of the plane from one side the biogenetic, untouched reserve and some sequoias that Mr Simon decided to plant.
No wonder if more and more people, especially photographers, come to lose themselves in this beauty that has nothing less than the American Forest of West Virginia, so far away from the Belpaese.
So lucky to live here, in Romagna, to enjoy this show every year, just watching outside my office window or driving half an hour to get in touch with the real nature of this area.
Disclosure: thanks to Fabiana Succi of Atlantide for inviting me again here after 2012’s trip and thanks to the people of the park and those who are working every day to keep the Park safe, such as Franco Locatelli.