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Discovering Orrido di Botri Nature Reserve

We are almost there. From June to September, the State Biogenetic Nature Reserve of Orrido di Botri, the largest canyon in Tuscany, reopens to the public. 

This mountain forest, located about 600 meters high, is the ideal destination for all lovers of unspoiled nature. If you are among them, here is what awaits you. 
 

Flora and fauna in the Botri ravine 


The Orrido di Botri is located on the slopes of the Rondinaio and Tre Potenze mountains, included in the Apennines. Here, the icy waters of the Mariana and Ribellino streams have carved out the steep walls of the two limestone rocks. 

The Orrido di Botri Nature Reserve covers an area of ​​192 hectares, in the municipalities of Coreglia Antelminelli and Bagni di Lucca. 

The vegetation is distributed on a vertical scale. At the base of the slopes, mosses and ferns reign, thanks to the cold and humid temperature. Going up the ravine, the climate becomes milder. Here silene and aquilegia plants proliferate, in the midst of extensive beech woods

The walls of the Orrido di Botri reach, in some cases, 200 meters in height. This conformation makes them an ideal place for the nesting of the golden eagle, which populates the area along with many other birds of prey

 

Visit the Orrido di Botri Nature Reserve 


In 1971 it was the then Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry that established the nature reserve. The decision made it possible to protect flora and fauna, the two main reasons that today push tourists to visit this corner of paradise on earth. 

The Orrido di Botri can be accessed from a single point, Ponte a Gaio, exclusively in the period between June and September. The ticket office is also located here. Access to the canyon is managed by the Lucca Biodiversity Carabinieri Department, which also determines the rules of conduct and safety regulations.

Due to the fords and the slippery surface, entry is allowed with a protective helmet (included in the ticket) and hiking shoes. 

To discover the stories, anecdotes and curiosities of the Orrido di Botri, you can visit the area with a guide. The guided tour lasts approximately 3 hours. 

 

Montefegatesi and Tereglio, in the surroundings of the Orrido di Botri 


What to do after the excursion to the Orrido di Botri? About 20 minutes by car from Ponte a Gaio there is a small village, Montefegatesi. Surrounded by some of the most evocative peaks of the Orrido (Rondinaio, Tre Potenze, Coronato and Pratofiorito) it probably owes its name to the liver red color, typical of the area on which it stands. 

Do not miss the church consecrated to San Frediano. Inside there are two splendid tables of the Florentine school dating back to the fifteenth century. 

The fortress of Montefegatesi dominates the valley, crossed by the Fegana stream. The waters of Rio Pelago flow into this last stream, which in turn is made up of the Mariana and Ribellino streams, creators of the Orrido di Botri. 

Montefegatesi is located in a strategic position. It was in fact used as a "sentinel" by the Lucca republic. With the exception of a period in which it was managed by the Florentines, the fortress was always in the hands of Lucca and the Giunigi. 

Tereglio is also located a few kilometers from Ponte a Gaio. One of the oldest streets in Tuscany passes through this medieval village, the Strada Maria Luisa Duchessa di Lucca. The latter also enters the Orrido di Botri Nature Reserve, from which various itineraries unfold. 

In Tereglio there is a small church of Romanesque origin (later modified in the 15th century), dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta. Inside, there is the splendid wooden crucifix made by Barone Berlinghieri in the thirteenth century and a table in the kingdom depicting the Annunciation, dating back to the following century. 

 

From June to September, don't miss the opportunity to visit one of the most evocative places in all of Italy. Book now a stay at Hotel Ilaria and visit the Orrido di Botri and its surroundings. 

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