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Umbria is known as the "green heart of Italy": the extraordinary
balance between nature and human activity created impressive landscapes
amongst the most beautiful in Italy. Crossed by the Apennines, a large
part of its land is mountainous or hilly. With a limestone composition,
these areas are subject to the "choreographies" of erosion:
sinkholes, natural springs, rivers, streams, and lakes embellish the expanses
of woods, pastures and fields.
|The Trasimeno Lake Park
The establishment of the Trasimeno Regional Park (1995) was of vital importance in order to preserve an extremely delicate natural environment, hard pressed especially by tourism on the lake. Excellent results have been accomplished: the water and beaches are clean, and many areas, such as the islands and valleys, have maintained their naturalistic qualities. Right from the fi rst glance, the landscape is simply enchanting. The park (13,200 hectares) covers the entire surface of Lake Trasimeno, the largest in Italy excluding the Alpine lakes, and also incorporates the towns along the shores. Three islands emerge from the lake (seven metres at maximum height): Isola Polvese, now a scientific park, Isola Maggiore, inhabited yearround, and Isola Minore. In addition to the fish, pride and joy of the local cuisine, Lake Trasimeno is important as a waystation for migratory birds, including herons, swans, and egrets.
|The Monti Sibillini
Established in 1993, the Monti Sibillini National Park covers the mountainous area where legend has it that the cave of the fortune-teller Sybil was found. It is a land of magical charm, impregnated with legends and embellished with fortifi ed towns, towers, churches and abbeys set into the green surroundings. Here lie the source of the Nera river, which carves one of the most beautiful valleys of the entire Apennine range, and the highest peaks in the region, dominated by Monte Vettore (2476 m).
Opening out on the western slope of the Apennines is a spectacular karst depression, the series of plains known as the Piani di Castelluccio, formed by Pian Perduto, Pian Grande, and Pian Piccolo; near the latter is the Macchia Cavaliere, a beech wood of enormous naturalistic value.
|The Sienese land
The Sienese land offers you a varied and beautiful landscape.
This landscape gives a kind of magic and serenity to all its visitors, depending on their interests. You can see the natural beauties of the Orcia Valley, but also many medieval villages (if you are a fan of them). The Orcia Valley is not only a geographical area naturally privileged by its history or an area poetically definable through a series of images, it is also, more than anything else, an ecosystem of social, geographical and cultural relations to be protected and known in its complexity. Then you can either plunge into the tranquillity of the Merse Valley or you can make excursions by bike or horse riding or even you can reach the thermal baths’ magic waters in the Chiana Valley (that are closely united to the nture reserves and the parks).