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.
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.
district: S. Romano di Garfagnana
Telephon number: 0583-955525; 0583-955526 (Corpo Forestale dello Stato-Lucca)
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.