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.
Type of collection
Dioramas (reconstructions) of natural environments, panels on environmental issues.
Historical critical news
The Natural Park was conceived in the 1960's, the area having been chosen for the extraordinary value of its natural landscape. Though not formally established as such, it is commonly referred to as Orecchiella Natural Park and includes the forest belonging to the Region in the upper Serchio valley that is taken care of by the Mountain Community of Garfagnana and three natural reserves: Pania di Corfino, Lamarossa and Mount Orecchiella, run by the Forest Authority. The visitors' centre was opened in 1984 to promote didactic activities focusing on the habitats of the Apennine and to gather information on this topic. The exhibition hall, recently renewed, is aimed in particular towards young visitors. The presentation of the four elements (water, air, earth and fire) uses a combination of techniques, colours and tricks that allow a particularly interactive playful approach. The set up is completed by a series of dioramas, i.e. naturalistic reproductions of typical scenes of animal and plant life from the park. Each habitat is reconstructed in all its details and the scenes come to life, so to say, as groups of animals are shown in particular moments of their lives: deer drinking at their watering place in the beech wood, two moufflons fighting on the rocks, a pack of wolves returning from a hunting expedition at dawn and a fox starting two hares on a meadow. From the visitors' centre you can easily reach the animal pens with bears, deer, moufflons and grouses as well as the Mountain Garden.
- MIROLA G., POGGI U., CALZOLARI G., Il Parco naturale dell'Orecchiella in Garfagnana, Manfrini Editori, Calliano 1955
- AA.VV., Parco naturale dell'Orecchiella, Ministero dell'agricoltura e foreste, Maria Pacini Fazzi Editore, Lucca 1989
- GUIDOTTI S., Guida alla natura di Toscana e Umbria, Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, Milano 1994
- PRATESI R., ARRIGHI A., A piedi in Toscana, vol. II, edizioni Iter, Roma 1995
- ANSALDI M., MEDDA E., Orecchiella un Parco nell'Appennino, Sagep, Genova 1999