An explosion of nature a stone's throw from Anghiari
An unusual and evocative reserve characterized by green rocks, streams and mines, legendary paths and castles that dot the mountain tops. A place where it is not uncommon to spot woodland animals, walking on the oceanic crust surrounded by peculiar plants that make the landscape unique at any time of the year.
This is the realm of the "Serpent Rock", an extensive outcrop of 1500 hectares of ophiolites, which are sections of oceanic crust and the underlying mantle that have risen forming these particular mountains. In fact , up to 200 million years ago the current outcrop constituted the bottom of the Ligurian-Piedmontese Ocean, an ancient ocean that roughly corresponds to the current Mediterranean Sea. The term ophiolite derives from the Greek ophis (snake) and lithos (rock); moreover, they are also called "serpent rocks", due to their scaly appearance and a dark green color reminiscent of the reptile skin. In the area of the reserve it is possible to find mainly three types of rocks: serpentinites, gabbros and basalts.
The presence of these particular rocks makes the Reserve stand out from the surrounding landscape. At first sight it may seem stony, barren and inhospitable, but if you venture into its numerous paths, you will discover a variety of plant and animal species that inhabit it. Centennial junipers, very fragrant helichrysum and the fragrant daphne, found in Tuscany only on these mountains, are just some of the numerous plants that can be seen walking through the woods. Along the streams of the Reserve it is not uncommon to hear cries of various birds of prey, or to come across roe deer, squirrels and foxes. The Rognosi Mountains also preserve many historical testimonies , such as the ancient ironworks, the Via Ariminensis road which connected Arezzo and Rimini in Roman times, and which was subsequently used for the transhumance of cattle to the pastures of the Maremma,and the Gothic Line with its remains of old trenches. Don’t miss the Castle of Montauto where St. Francis, on a pilgrimage to Assisi, left his habit as a gift to the owner.