A path through colours and fragrances in Pistoia's Upper Apennines, created in order to safeguard Biodiversity. It is a part of the Naturalistic Itinerary of the Pistoia Mountains' Ecomuseum.
A chance to further deepen your knowledge and appreciate the rich naturalistic heritage of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines can be had at the Orto Botanico Forestale dell’Abetone: an important botanical garden, rich in extraordinary natural varieties with around 250 botanical and forest examples.
Opened in 1987, it stands in the Valle del Sestaione, somewhere between 1270 and 1320 metres above sea level and 14.000 sq. mt large, on the border with the Riserva Naturale Orientata di Campolino – a local Natural Reserve.
Its original aim was to safeguard and add value to the forest and naturalistic aspects of the area, and this botanical garden is in fact now a part of the Naturalistic Itinerary of the Ecomuseo della Montagna Pistoiese.
Thanks to its low temperatures and to the area’s rather special microclimate, you can admire and enjoy different types of alpine varieties which, in this part of the Apennines, have reached – regarding their diffusion – their most southern limit. Particularly interesting is the red fir, proof of the existence of ancient populations, in the nearby Riserva di Campolino: this fir, that still today regrows spontaneously, originally came from the arctic area of the Northern Apennines during its last glaciation.
Other varieties are the red rhododendron (Rododendron ferrugineum), the star-shaped gentianella (Swertia perennis) and the purple gentania (Gentiana purpurea). There are also native examples here; in other words, plants that can only be found in this area, such as the Globularia incanescens and the carnivorous plant Pinguicula christinae.
The route around the Garden is inside a forest environment of considerable naturalistic importance and is divided into various sections: beechwood, fir forest, siliceous rocks, groups of blueberry heaths, wetlands, peat bog and a little lake. In fact, this lake is a smaller version of a mountainous lake and is home to many kinds of animals, amongst which are: the alpine crested newt (Ichthyosaura alpestris), the alpine frog (Rana temporaria), leeches and numerous insects.
So, what are you waiting for?! Come and have a walk through and around our Botanical Garden. Enchanted by the clear, flowing waters of the Sestaione Stream, you will thoroughly enjoy taking a look at all the wonders that the Pistoia Mountains are home to.