Since time immemorial, a formidable point of contact between the Mediterranean and European worlds, the Tuscan-Emilian Apennine National Park offers a wide variety of historical sites, natural habitats and landscapes. Along the great Apennine Ridge that cuts the Italian peninsula in two, over 2,000 metres high, there are some of the highest peaks in the northern Apennines, such as Mount Cusna, Monte Prado and the Alpe di Succiso, while lower down, in the valley of the Secchia River, the park also includes the famous Pietra di Bismantova rock formation.
From here – where on the clear days you can see the sea on one side and, on the other, the mountain chain of the Alps – over the centuries, thousands of humans and multiple cultures have travelled, which, despite being separated by the Apennine Ridge, found a way to meet and influence one another.
A testament to this are the many villages, monuments and architectural buildings (churches, parish churches, castles, towers and museums) that tell the story of the history, culture and folklore of this area, and not forgetting the historic roads (like the Via del Sale or the Via Francigena) that are still being travelled today.
A kaleidoscope of landscapes and emotions that also includes delicious flavours and good food, a sense of tradition that is perfectly represented by the innumerable local delicacies that are PDO and PGI-certified and by the principals of Slow Food.
The environment and scenery
The Tuscan-Emilian Apennines National Park contains most of the natural elements that characterise the northern Apennine Ridge. The territory is presented as a complex mosaic of environments which corresponds to an extraordinarily rich variety of biodiversity.
From the peaks, great panoramas unfold over upland grassland, heaths, beech and coniferous forests, deep valleys and rushing streams that plunge into tranquil mountain lakes and peat bogs.
The local fauna includes the golden eagle and the wolf, which has had a stable population for years in the wildest corners, large mammals, like red deer, wild boar and roe deer, and numerous alpine birds and amphibians.
What can you do there?
The park can be explored in all seasons: in summer and spring with excursions, trekking and outdoor sports; in winter with skis and snowshoes; in autumn in search of the colours and fruits of the landscape, such as mushrooms and chestnuts, if not by sitting around a table and giving into the pleasure of the local cuisine, thanks to the many festivals that are scheduled at this time of year.
But the park is also ideal for free climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking and downhill biking enthusiasts, as well as Nordic walking and trail running.
The possibilities are endless, just like the amazement you will feel every time you enter this natural area.