The Orecchiella Park is found on Garfagnana's Apennine slope and is located between the municipal districts of of f Piazza al Serchio, San Romano, Sillano and Villa Collemandina. It is an area protected by the State Forest Protection Corps (Corpo Forestale dello Stato) made up of imposing forests of beech trees, chestnut trees and firs trees and still today populated by numerous species of wildlife, such as the Apennine wolf, bucks, moufflons and wild boars. Its skies are dominated by various birds of prey: the hawk and the royal eagle.
There are numerous alternatives to reach this place. We suggest the simpler: from the village of Villa Collemandina continue toward Corfino and from there to the Orecchiella, about 7 km away. The route is covered in about 30 minutes by car passing though exceptionally beautiful zones with breath-taking panoramas that are only a prelude of what you will find once in the Park.
The Park occupies a vast area with paths that present different levels of difficulty: we recommend an itinerary that is enjoyable by everybody and particularly interesting for children. Having reached the visitor's center, follow the path that leads to the "mountain flower garden", where you can walk among bejeweled plant life. Passing through a small woods of pine trees, you reach some fenced areas where some animals such as deer, forcelli roosters and brown bears are housed and protected. The course ends up once again at the visitor's center.
Between the rocks of the Apuan Alps and the beech woods of the Tuscan Apennine, in Garfagnana, is a vast protected area, the Orecchiella Natural Park. The landscape is that of an open highland dominated by the calcareous massif of the Pania di Corfino: an area of more than 5000 hectares that reaches from 600 to 2045 metres a.s.l. where nature is sovereign, though here you can find also structures for receiving the numerous visitors that come here every year.
The visitors' centre, run by the Corpo Forestale dello Stato' is housed in a three storey building and represents an important reference within the park (that includes an Orto Botanico as well). It has a technical office, guestrooms, a library and a research centre together with a meeting room and a Natural History Museum. The Museum aims at promoting interactive didactic activities for schoolchildren and adults alike. It focuses on environmental issues with reproductions of typical habitats and other features of Orecchiella¿s nature: its beech woods, grasslands, crags and pastures.
The Natural Park of Orecchiella stretches from the high Appennines peaks of Monte Prado and Monte Vecchio, to the surrounding valleys and includes the high tableland between the Pania di Corfino, the Alpe di Corte e di Frappola, the meadows of Ripa, the Alpe di Caprignana and Vibbiana, the Orecchiella itself as far as the Alpe San Romano and Sulcina.
In the park the royal eagle, the royal owl and hawks make their nests, and in the limpid streams and pools we can find trouts, fresh water shrimps, salamanders and newts.
The paths marked by "Airone" allow tourits to make interesting excursions to the most important parts of the park like the Natural Reserve of the Pania di Corfino and Lamarossa which show a great and fashinating equilibrium between flora and fauna.
district: S. Romano di Garfagnana
Telephon number: 0583-955525 0583-955525; 0583-955526 0583-955526 (Corpo Forestale dello Stato-Lucca)
0583-619002 0583-619002 (Centro Orecchiella)
fax number: 0583-953775
How to get there:
by car: From Lucca take 'Brennero' state road n. 12 to Chifenti, then state road n. 445 to Castelnuovo Garfagnana and state road n. 324 to Castiglione G.na; from there a provincial road leads towards Corfino and the Orecchiella Park (a total of 67 km from Lucca).
From San Romano in Garfagnana provincial road n. 16.
parking place: Parking free for cars, buses and campers
pubblic transport: By train to Castelnuovo G.na or Piazza al Serchio, then by rented bus
15 June/15 September: open every day 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
1 June/30 September weekend 9 a.m.-7 p.m. winter hours:
Closed from November to May, open on request weekdays only.
From Easter to 1st November open on Sunday 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
Orto Botanico "Pania di Corfino"
Opened in 1984 thanks to the Mountain Community of Garfagnana, the ¿Pania di Corfino' botanical garden contains the most characteristic species of plants from the Orecchiella Natural Park.
The garden is in a glade of the beech-wood on the southern side of Mount Pania di Corfino, at 1370 metres a.s.l. in the Orecchiella Natural Park. Among the species that are grown and gathered we find rare plants in danger of extinction as well as the spontaneous flora of this part of the Apennine used as medicinal herbs and as food by the population of Upper Garfagnana.
Not only does a visit to the botanical garden permit the observation of numerous species of plants, but it also represents a short naturalistic expedition through a representative selection of reconstructed natural habitats of Lucca's high Apennine region such as heaths, cliffs, screes, peat bogs, pastures and woodland.Garden of mountaign Orecchiella - Giardino di Montagna dell'Orecchiella
Indirizzo: Parco dell'Orecchiella, S. Romano I-55030 Corfino (Lu)
Telefono: ++39 0583644911 (Comunità Montana)
Telefono: 0583 955525-6 (Ufficio Amministrazione Foreste Demaniali di Lucca)
Fax: 0583 953775 (Ufficio Amministrazione Foreste Demaniali di Lucca)
e-mail: [email protected] (Ufficio Amministrazione Foreste Demaniali di Lucca)
Centro visitatori Tel. 0583 619002 0583 619002 0583 619002 0583 619002