Secret Tuscany

Tuscany is not only about gentle, rolling hills like the Chianti Shire or exotic beaches like the Maremma. It also features amazing mountains and ski resorts in the Monte Amiata area. You can enter this territory through the fortified town of Bagno Vignoni, located in the Val d’Orcia Nature Park. The local thermal waters were found thanks to the town’s position on the Via Francigena, and have been used since Roman times. They gained particular fame during the Renaissance, when Lorenzo the Magnificent was a frequent guest.

This mountain is consider sacred from the Buddhist that built here the Temple of Merigar.

The Pigelleto Nature Reserve covers a surface of 862 hectares of mostly wooded land. It is located in the Piancastagnaio Municipality.

The Pigelleto Nature Reserve takes its name from the ancient term ‘Pigello’, with which the locals of Monte Amianta used to call the silver fir, the most common tree of this part of Tuscany.

The unique climate and morphology of the area have generated a rich variety of plants including beech trees, chestnut trees, various kinds of oak, hornbeam and yew, a majestic conifer which is currently included in the international red lists of rare trees.

The Reserve was born with the main aim of preserving the remaining population of silver fir locally known as “Pigello”, which grows here spontaneously, an important witness of the last glacial era which ended about 10.000 years ago.  The Italian Peninsula was in fact a “refuge” for forests of silver fir trees when, at the peak of the glacial period, most of Europe was covered by glaciers.

With climate change the silver firs survived only in the areas where there was a suitable microclimate and where the competition with beech trees was not too fierce. The Pigelleto is one of few areas inhabited by silver firs in Southern Europe.

The Reserve is also home to other beautiful plants such as various species of orchid, primroses, violets and brassica plants. In the damp and cool underbrush a great variety of mushrooms grow; a recent study has numbered over 400 species. This uncontaminated natural environment hosts also noteworthy animal species including the salamander (a small amphibian endemic to Italy) and at least 8 species of bat. In addition to these less common species, the Pigelleto is also home to roe deer, wild boar, jays, buzzards, blackcap, numerous species of butterfly and many other animals. It is not unusual to see some specimens or their traces while walking in the Reserve.

Come discover this magic land during our upcoming YALAjourney in Tuscay – 10/16 June 2017

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