Photo ©Flavia Cori
Naturalistic attractions
Faunistic Park of Monte Amiata
Observing animals of the Apennines from nature footpath near Grosseto
Parco Faunistico del Monte Amiata

Located within the boundaries of the municipality of Arcidosso, the Faunistic Park of Monte Amiata is a novelty in the gamut of national parks in Italy. Inspired by the Wild Parks in Germany, in beautiful surroundings the park proposes a series of extensive integrated faunistic areas. Inside the park, a network of paths which must be strictly followed and specific structures such as platforms permit visitors to observe without physical barriers many species that are naturally present in the central Apennines. The park hosts a wealth of wild fauna which plays, or has played in the past, an important role in the ecological equilibrium of the Apennines. The Nature Footpath, a little more difficult compared to other paths, runs through a splendid gorge full of water; following this route it is possible to observe and catalogue numerous vegetable species, often endemic to the place or rare.
The area is characterised by many forest specimens, among the broad-leaved species the following have been catalogued: white hornbeam, hornbeam, maple, field maple, hazel, willow, wild cherry, beech, chestnut, white oak, Turkey oak and holly. The conifers include (in almost all cases not growing naturally but planted) Austrian pine Douglas fir, Arizona cypress, Greek fir from Cefalonia, larch and cedar. Making use of the specifically provided network of paths, roe and red deer, mouflon, and chamois can all easily be observed as well as other mammals in their natural habitat, such as porcupines, foxes, badgers, weasels, skunks, hares, squirrels, dormice and wild boar amongst many others. None however guarantee a sense of excitement quite like that of seeing an Apennine wolf in its vast mountain habitat. There are not many opportunities, even on a worldwide level, of walking among red deer and roebuck and sighting at the same time the Italian breed of Apennine wolf.

Every season has its own particular charm: in autumn the ungulates go on heat and it is possible to observe long bouts of fighting and the rutting call of the stags defending their harem and territory conquered with difficulty. In the winter months most species of animals are tranquil and do not appear to mind being observed; in February the mating period begins for the wolves. With the arrival of spring there is an explosion of life and colours - young are born and the natural environment is bustling with activity. The yellow of the broom stands out amidst the green and flowers are in bloom everywhere. The summer months at 1,000 meters altitude mean a period of tranquillity; the best time for observing animals is around dusk as vital rhythms tend to slow down or stop during the hottest hours of the day.