Skip to content

Gargonza and the Casentino Forests National Park

Gargonza and the Casentino Forests National Park

July and August are the hottest months when everyone is seeking coolness, peace, and tranquility. Why not enjoy an exploration of the national park’s natural beauty in the Casentino Forests?

The Origins of the Name Casentino

But let’s start with the basics: why is it called Casentino? The Casentino: a “closed” valley rich in history and mystery. For many centuries, Casentino was nicknamed the “Closed Valley,” especially by foreign travelers. This epithet, which evokes images of isolation and seclusion, is no coincidence. Like any mountain valley or island, the inhabitants of Casentino have developed a proud and independent character, shaped by a life closely linked to the rhythms of nature and the defense of their territory.

The origins of the name “Casentino” are still shrouded in mystery. Medieval sources suggest that the term originally applied to a broader area called the “Florentine Mountains,” which included the Val di Sieve, Vallombrosa, and part of Pratomagno. This hypothesis is supported by the presence of the “Casuentini,” a Ligurian tribe settled on the borders of the Arezzo territory. A document from 1207 also attests that the parishes of Pelago, Pomino, and Tòsina were located “in agro Casentino,” confirming the original breadth of the region.

Casentino: A Territory Full of Charm

Despite its reputation as a “closed valley,” Casentino boasts an irresistible charm. Immersed in an unspoiled landscape of forests, mountains, and rivers, the valley holds a historical and artistic heritage of inestimable value. From medieval villages perched on hills to hermitic monasteries, from silent sanctuaries to Romanesque churches, Casentino offers an exciting journey through the centuries.

If you are looking for an authentic place off the beaten path, Casentino is the ideal destination. Let yourself be conquered by its wild beauty, its millenary history, and the warm welcome of its inhabitants. Casentino awaits you with open arms, ready to reveal its secrets and win you over forever.

What Animals Are in the Casentino Forests National Park?

The Casentino Forests National Park boasts extraordinary wildlife richness, with over 1,000 recorded species, including several of great scientific interest.

  • Mammals: Among the undisputed protagonists are the large ungulates: Deer, Fallow Deer, Roe Deer, Wild Boar, and Mouflon. But the true king of the Park is the Wolf, the largest predator present in Italy.
  • Birds: Birdwatching enthusiasts can admire about 100 nesting species, including the Alpine Creeper, Bullfinch, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Tawny Owl, Tits, Woodpeckers, and many more. Among birds of prey, the Honey Buzzard, Hobby, Sparrowhawk, and Goshawk stand out. At higher altitudes, the Golden Eagle, Eagle Owl, and Peregrine Falcon reign.
  • Amphibians and Reptiles: There are 12 species of amphibians, including the rare Savi’s Salamander, Alpine Newt, Spotted Salamander, and Italian Cave Salamander. Among reptiles, there are 11 species, including the Viper, Aesculapian Snake, Western Whip Snake, Smooth Snake, Riccioli’s Snake, Grass Snake, and Dice Snake.

An Ecosystem to Protect: The extraordinary wildlife variety in the Park is made possible by the presence of a variety of habitats: forests, rivers, streams, meadows, rocks. Protecting these environments is essential to ensure the survival of the numerous species inhabiting the Park.

An Unforgettable Experience: Visiting the Casentino Forests National Park means immersing yourself in an unspoiled environment rich in life. An unforgettable experience for nature lovers and all those who wish to discover the beauty and fragility of mountain ecosystems.

What Trees Are in the Casentino Forests?

Over 5,000 hectares of Casentino Forests and the unspoiled forest surrounding the Franciscan Sanctuary of La Verna spread like a lush green mantle over the territory. A plant kingdom jealously guarding botanical treasures of inestimable value.

Beeches, maples, ashes, elms, lindens, and manna ashes, as well as rare yews and holly trees: the arboreal variety is boundless. There are also hop-hornbeam groves dominated by the Black Hornbeam, oak forests with Turkey Oaks and Downy Oaks, centuries-old chestnut groves (especially in Camaldoli and Castagno d’Andrea), and lush reforestations of Black Pine.

Among the protagonists of this natural spectacle the rare Cork Oak stands out, while on warm and rocky slopes, some specimens of Holm Oak rise like silent sentinels.

But the true triumph is that of the herbaceous flora: over 1,000 species recorded, of which only 48 are trees and shrubs. An explosion of colors and shapes reaching its peak in the M.Falco-Falterona massif. Meadows, clearings, cliffs, and grassy ledges jealously preserve the memory of thousands of years of natural evolution.

A paradise for nature lovers, a place to get lost among untouched paths and immerse oneself in the wild beauty of a unique territory in the world.

How to Reach the Casentino Forests National Park?

If you are already in Tuscany, the Park is accessible by train from the stations of Bibbiena, Poppi, Pratovecchio, and Stia on the Casentino side and from the Pontassieve and Contea-Londa stations on the Mugello side. If you are staying at Castle Gargonza, it is a pleasant stop about an hour and a half away by car.

Buy now

Buy now

Buy now

Buy now