Nature and Environment between "Reno and Panaro"
The most evident characteristics of the middle Apennine region between Bologna and Modena are the result of a rich nature and a still uncontaminated environment, where anthropic phenomena have not been too invasive and where flora and fauna find their ideal habitat. It is not by chance that, on this territory, one can find three Regional Parks: Sassi di Roccamalatina in Guiglia, the historic park, Monte Sole, in Marzabotto, and Abbazia di Monteveglio in Monteveglio which, in all, cover a surface area of 8.300 acres. These protected areas safeguard environmental biodiversity and enhance the rich historic-cultural patrimony of these regions, carrying out an important role with regards to environmental education and a correct fruition of the territory.
Aside from the three rivers, Setta, Reno (Bologna), and Panaro (Modena), which trace the territorial orography, these regions are rich with waters, from lesser brooks and paths of water. Numerous are the natural springs, such as those of Cereglio and Tolè (Vergato), and Maserno (Montese), where excellent mineral water is bottled. Worth mentioning are also the falls, such as those of San Cristofo a Labante (Castel d'Aiano), of Striscialacqua in Maserno, and the gorge of Gea (Montese).
Furthermore, these regions, do not lack several particular features in their arboreal flora, such as the Bosco delle betulle (Woods of the birch trees), with its didactic area, located in San Giacomo of Zocca, where we can also find secular chestnut trees, as well as in Malalbergo of Montese, Semelano, and Montalto (Montese), including one of the largest chestnut trees, located in Montombraro of Zocca, which boasts a circumference of 8 meters. One can then find secular oak trees in Tolè (Vergato), and in Manovella (Marzabotto). Among the evergreens, one can find the red spruce of Riola di Labante (Castel d'Aiano), as well as holm oaks and pine trees in the park of Monte Sole (Marzabotto).
This is also considered an interesting territory from a geological viewpoint, with marlstones, sandstones and several Karst formations.
Among the stones and rocks, one must mention the sandy peaks of the Sassi di Roccamalatina, result of the same erosive phenomena that created the Dito di Samone and the Sasso di Sant'Andrea in Montecorone, or such as the Sassi dei Carli (or Cinghio dei diamanti - Belt of Diamonds) in Caselluccio di Montese. Of interest are also the slates of Finocchia and those which form the lair of Pargoletto, near Labante (Castel d'Aiano). Considered an erosive phenomena are also those which formed the Tana delle fate (Lair of Fairies) always in Castel d'Aiano. Numerous are also the grottos and caves, from the grotto of San Cristoforo a Labante, characterized by a particular travertine form, to the Grotta delle Spugne (Grotto of the Sponges) and the grottos in Soprasasso of Riola (Vergato). As mentioned, this territory is often characterized by morphologies leading to phenomena of Karst formations, therefore, it is not rare if one finds caves, pits, and dolines in the area. One of these phenomena is the grotto of Cavicchio in the commune of Montese, the closed- bottom pit of Burroni in Guiglia, and the openbottom pitd in Rosola (Zocca), as well as the dolines of Monteforte, and the sinkholes of Serre di Samone.
Instead, on a morphologic level, and of equal importance, are the spectacular eroded furrow formations found in the park of Monte Sole.
A vast network of paths, all marked and indicated with maps by the CAI, allow visitors to discover all the naturalistic-landscape beauties and the historicarchitectural points of interest this territory offers, both in and out of the park area.