This Park also called Parco del Frignano was established in 1988 and covers about 15,000 hectares of land and includes the municipalities of Fanano, Sestola, Montecreto, Riolunato, Pievepelago, Fiumalbo and Frassinoro. The park includes the highest part of the Tosco Emiliano ridge with the high peak of Mount Cimone (2165 m), the highest in the northern Apennines; to the east it borders with the Parco Regionale del Corno alle Scale, and to the west with the Parco del Gigante.
This extensive protected area, called also the Frignano Park, is split into two sectors separated from one another by the depression of the Abetone and the basin of Fiumalbo, linked by a pre-park strip of 6,000 hectares of greenery and furrowed by a dense network of trails to be travelled on foot, mountain bike or, in part, even on horseback.
Along these routes we discover the various faces and the most secret sides of the park. Right away what strikes us are the colours and golden shades of the dense beech woods that cover the mountain slopes, halfway between the oak and chestnut woods, lower down, and the peaks up above, where we come across wild meadows and heath-land with swathes of black and blue myrtle, juniper and small plants of club moss.
Together with the Cimone, which is one of the park’s main peaks and the highest in the northern Apennines at 2,165 metres, those that stand out are the Giovo, Spigolino and Libro Aperto, while the Abetone remains the lowest point with respect to the line of the ridge. Climbing higher up we come across striking signs of an ancient glaciation. Here coombes and morainic chains have given rise to lakes, bogs and pools which often change into wet meadows where in spring, when the thaw comes, the water stagnates.
The Regional Park is also home to countless species of animals. Amongst the birds the royal eagle has just recently reappeared, while more common are the skylark, the mountain swallow and the alpine accentor. Lower down it is easy to find in the beech wood blackcaps, robins, finches and cuckoos as well as black woodpeckers, owls and falcons. Other guests of the park are the wolf, deer, boar, marmots, dormice, weasels, beech-martens and foxes.