Area wilderness Fosso del Capanno
Wilderness Area of Fosso del Capanno
This area covers roughly 500 acres in the area between Mount Zuccherodante (1127) and Poggio Lombardone (1274), between the SP. 138 Mandrioli Pass road and the trail of Passo di Serra, and drops dramatically down into the rifts of Capanno and Racetto. It was the first area to be declared a wilderness area in Italy (1988) as it maintains a wild state and conserves the environmental conditions of the past, where nature can evolve freely. It is, in fact, completely isolated with no human activity, no trails and its confines are formed by natural boundaries marked by the watersheds of the valleys. Any visitor entering this area will be struck by the feeling of silence, solitude and isolation. The first core section was created thanks to the "Fondazione Domenico Ghezzo" – administered by the ACLI of Cesena – which entrusted its property of 118 hectares along the "Fosso del Capanno" to the "Associazione Italiana per il Wilderness", an association that protects the environment in order to maintain its natural value unaltered, with a view to ensuring its protection against future exploitation. In 1990 the "Azienda Regionale delle Foreste dell'Emilia Romagna (ARFER – Regional Forestry Organisation for Emilia Romagna) decided to add on an area of 225 hectares that it owned, undertaking not to do any planting or build tracks, power lines or constructions. In 1992 the municipality of Bagno di Romagna extended the constraints related to this wilderness area to a further 159 hectares of its property that ran to the Fosso di Racetto, thus annexing a major part of its "Macchia dell'Alpe - Bosco dei Mandrioli".
This beautiful and little known forest contains a wood of old beech that has specimens of over 30 m in height and has been municipal property since the fifteenth century. The area is a mosaic of deep valleys and steep gorges with sheer rocky outcrops that, thanks to its inaccessibility and isolation, has been largely untouched and has maintained a wild environment that is its main attraction. Two main streams flow in the gorges within the area's natural boundaries (Fosso di Racetto or Mandrioli, and Fosso del Capanno) along with many minor streams that are separated by sharply carved dry, grey marl ridges that contrast with the thriving woods. The forest canopy that was formerly in decline is enjoying a great revival and is of significant scientific interest for the study of the spontaneous development of a biocenosis like this. In the higher section of the area there are tall woods of beech and silver fir, while lower down there are coppices that have been growing for over 40 – 50 years and contain species of bitter oak, bay oak, black and white hornbeam, and hazelnut.
The sound environmental status and isolation have created an excellent habitat for wildlife: there are ungulates such as deer, roe deer and wild boar as well as carnivores such as the fox, badger, marten and wolf. Golden eagles are also present, using the area as a hunting territory close to their nesting site, while goshawks, owls, kestrels, buzzards and sparrow-hawks nest here. The streams contain brown trout, crayfish and salamander. Although this area is outside the "National Park of the Casentino Forests, Mount Falterona and Campigna" it nevertheless complements the park both as regards its landscape and for the wildlife species that inhabit the adjoining park and require considerable space for movement; today, together with the Integral Nature Reserve of Sasso Fratino (within the Casentino Forests), it is one of the most beautiful and well-preserved areas of the great sweep of forest that lies between Romagna and Tuscany.
Getting here: From Bagno di Romagna follow the SP. 138 road southwards and then proceed along the SP. 137 road to the bridge where the Fosso delle Gualchiere meets the Savio River. Leave the car in the parking area and walk down to the hamlet of Le Gualchiere along the old trail of Alpe di Serra until you reach the bridge over the Fosso del Capanno where two unmarked paths that are not subject to maintenance proceed into the valley. It is necessary to exercise caution and proceed carefully.