Modena Apennines

Modena Apennines

Modena Apennines: Parco Regionale dell'Alto Appennino Modenese

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.


Mount Cimone is not the only important mountain in the park, there are also: Mount Libro Aperto, Mount Nuda, Mount Spigolino, Mount Cupolino and  the Mount Giovo and Mount Rondinaio group with amazing examples of glaciated landscape that form lovely lakes such as lake Santo and lake Baccio. Lake Scaffaiolo and lake Pratignano, of different origin, make up the greatest peat bog in the region; they are located at 1,307 m on a beautiful plateau along the ridge of the Riva mountains that separate the Ospitale valley from the Dardagna valley where the very rare Drosera rotundifolia grows, a small insectivorous plant and relict of the glacial era.   Other popular lakes are lake Turchino and lake Torbido. Of particular interest from west to east: the fields of San Geminiano and the nearby Bosco Reale, Mount Spicchio and Mount Albano, the Saltello Pass, the solitary peaks of Romecchio, the imposing peak of Mount Omo, Pian Cavallaro (meadow at high altitude) and the Croce Arcana Pass.

This area is rich in water and waterways. Most of the rivers that flow down the valley are tributaries of the Scoltenna River which cuts through spectacular gorges before joining the Leo stream and flowing into the Panaro River. Another attraction is the Doccione waterfall above Fellicarolo, while the western part of the park is crossed by the Dragone stream a tributary of the Secchia River.


The lower parts of this park are covered in mixed woods consisting of oak, downy oak, ash, maple, Turkey oak, hop-hornbeam, wild cherry trees and ancient chestnut trees. Over 1,000 m it is the kingdom of beech, fir woods, larch, birch, black pine and Scots pine. Low bilberry moors and meadows with rocky outcrops characterise the higher altitudes where some important rare flowers can be found: rhododendron and columbine.


The fauna of this park is very varied with an extraordinary number of animals and the important presence of the wolf, royal eagle, goshawk, marten and eagle owl. This park offers a natural habitat to wild boar, roe, fallow deer, muflons, squirrels, dormice, badgers, hazel dormice, foxes, snow voles and birds of prey (kestrels, sparrowhawks, buzzards and tawny owls).

Many other ornithological species can be sighted in this park: woodpeckers, shrikes, blackbirds, common siskins, larks and chaffinches; the conifer woods are populated by goldcrests, firecrests, bullfinches and crossbills.  The wallcreeper prefers rocky environments while the nuthatch prefers to live in copses with tits, marsh tits and warblers.    Linnets and wheatears can be sighted in the meadows on the ridge; the rock thrush prefers arid areas, while grey herons can be found along streams and brooks as well as dippers and grey wagtails.


At Passo del Lupo in the municipality of Sestola, near lake Ninfa, there is the “Esperia" Botanical Garden of the Club Alpino of Modena. The garden, created in 1980, has 32 flowerbeds with a variety of species of alpine plants from the Alps and the Botanical Garden of Modena.  There are also several officinal plants, a precious patrimony of knowledge for natural medicine experts and lovers. Nearly all the species of flora typical of Apennine, sub-alpine and alpine areas can be admired here from May to September.


The Parco del Frignano offers a number of hiking and trekking trails of different levels. Some of the walks with a brief description are detail below.

- Capanna Tassoni - Croce Arcana Pass-Mount Spigolino: suitable for experts; time: 6 hours.

- From Taburri to Libro Aperto: medium difficulty; time 3.5 hours.

- From Capanna Tassoni to lake Pratignano: easy trail; time: about 4 hours.

- From Doccia to Mount Cimone: of great natural interest; time: about 5 hours.

- From lake Santo to Mount Rondinaio: of great natural interest and medium difficulty; time: about 4 hours.

- From Alpicella delle Radici to the meadows of San Geminiano: easy and of great natural interest; time: about 3.5 hours.


Rifugio Capanno Tassoni
Via Capanna Tassoni 4919
41021 Fanano (MO) (only Italian)


Parco Regionale Alto Appennino Modenese Via Tamburù, 8 - Pievepelago
Tel. +39 0536 72134 Fax: +39 0536 71394

IAT - Pro Loco Tourist Board Fanano, Piazza Marconi, 1
Tel. +39 0536 68825

IAT Tourist Board Sestola Via Libertà, 53 Tel. +39 0536 62324

Esperia Botanical Gardens, Passo del Lupo - Sestola
Tel.+39 0536 61535


Parks (only Italian) (only Italian) (only Italian)



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