A visit to Modena’s countryside
Now that summer is here, enjoying the outdoors and finding new ideas for fresh-air outings are more important than ever.
If you’re looking for the great outdoors, here are five suggestions for destinations near Modena that you won’t want to miss.
Five destinations you should be sure not to miss
Each one has something unusual to recommend it. We’re sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Ready? Set? Go!
First stop: The Sassi di Roccamalatina regional park
The Sassi di Roccamalatina Regional Park is located in the Modenese Apennines between the towns of Marano sul Panaro, Guiglia, and Zocca. The biodiversity of flora and fauna that thrive across the Park’s more than 5,000 acres is both extremely interesting and highly varied.
In the heart of this vast area are three sandstone spurs called the “sassi.” In the 7th century, these peaks were apparently used by the Byzantines to defend the Pieve di Trebbio area from the Lombards.
Within the Park, a wide variety of environments co-exist, including ravines, rolling hills, pastures, orchards, vineyards, and forests of chestnuts. More than eighty different species of birds nest here, including the peregrine falcon, and some forty mammal species call the Park home. Among them are wolves, roe deer, fallow deer, badgers, foxes, martens, and porcupines.
If you’re a nature-lover, this perfect ecosystem, which is protected by the European Union, is the ideal place to get lost: Twelve itineraries and more than 100 kilometers of hiking, horseback, and biking paths await.
Visiting the Park takes time, and we recommend discovering it a little at a time. Take a few minutes to decide what you’d most like to see and then, if time permits, plan to come back more than once.
Second stop: The Salse di Nirano nature reserve
The Salse di Nirano Nature Reserve is located in Fiorano in a hilly area marked by ravines and gullies, an Italian “badlands” whose geology is of international importance.
At the Salse di Nirano Reserve, extrusions of cold mud are produced when sea water rises through faults in the earth and mixes with methane and other hydrocarbons, giving rise to the area’s characteristic “mud volcanoes.”
These formations are known locally as the “salse” because of their high salt content and are, in fact, formally considered pseudo-volcanoes because the phenomena that give rise to them have nothing to do with the movement of molten rock.
A visit to this natural area is sure to be a unique and interesting excursion.
You can explore the Reserve’s strange formations along thirteen trails, all equipped with facilities and open to the public.
Third stop: Scaffaiolo Lake
Let’s increase our elevation for a visit of discovery to splendid Scaffaiolo Lake, a mountain lake near the village of Fanano.
A number of trails lead to the lake, but it can be reached along a pleasant trail that begins at the Croce Arcana, a wrought-iron cross that marks the border between the Regions of Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna. This scenic path, which follows the ridgeline, guides visitors on an easy walk that takes about ninety minutes to complete.
Scaffaiolo Lake, located some 1,780 meters from the base of Monte Cupolino, is filled largely by rain water, snowmelt, and an underground aquifer. This picturesque area was so striking that it was even mentioned by Boccaccio.
Take time to enjoy the magnificent, untrammeled landscape.
If the weather is fine, you’ll have a clear view of Monte Cimone on the horizon.
Fourth stop: The Francesa Oasis
Established in 2005, the Francesa Oasis is of great natural interest and covers some fifty-six acres in Fossoli, a village near Carpi.
Inside the Oasis is a large lake of varying depths and natural environments of many different types, including forests, marshes, glades, and meadows.
The Francesa Oasis is actually an artificial area established to reproduce a natural marshland. Intended for the protection and study of the environment, the Oasis also provides opportunities to teach the many young students, who come here frequently on field trips, ways to respect and care for nature.
A pleasant and relaxing visit here can include viewing the many different kinds of plants and animals that live in this still-evolving habitat.
Fifth stop: The Valli di Mirandola nature park
The Valli di Mirandola Nature Park is another artificially created natural area. It was established in 1994 for the purpose of restoring and protecting local biodiversity and was made possible through the participation of many farming families whose lands had previously been in cultivation.
The Nature Park extends over a vast area of wetlands, ponds, hedgerows, tree-lined areas, thickets, and meadows.
This re-created environment has made it possible for various species of birds, some of which had disappeared decades earlier, to return and nest here. As a result, it’s a perfect place for birdwatching.
Observation towers, rest stops, and informational signage help visitors explore and enjoy the Nature Park’s plants and animals and to get to know the unique features of this special environment.
But that’s not all. Centuries of a tradition of horse breeding are concentrated in the Valli di Mirandola where unusual, polygon-shaped buildings, known as “Barchessoni,” have been built for the purpose. Be sure to leave time on your visit to stop to admire their architectural elegance.
The Valli di Mirandola Nature Park is an experience you won’t want to miss.
These five destinations are our suggestion for outings that will provide you unforgettable moments surrounded by nature.
If you’d like further details about planning a visit or are looking for additional ideas, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our Tourist Office is ready to provide whatever information you may need.