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Home Apennines and Nature Natural parks Regional Park of the High Modena Appenines

Regional Park of the High Modena Appenines

The Parco Regionale dell'Alto Appennino Modenese also called Parco del Frignano was established in 1988 and covers about 15,000 hectares of land and includes the territories 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 National Park of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines.


Parco Alto Appennino Modenese JPG


Mountains and lakes

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, a tributary of the Po, while the western part of the park is crossed by the Dragone stream a tributary of the Secchia River.    Another attraction is the Doccione waterfall above in the Fellicarolo Valley, in the Township of Fanano.



The botanic environment of the Park lies between an Alpine environment and that of the central Apennines, so here both typically alpine species as well as Mediterranean species can both be found.  The forest areas (reaching up to 1000 meters above sea level) that are mostly filled with oaks and chestnut trees make up a small area of the Park.  The mountainous areas largely filled with beech trees cover more of the park and are broken up by reforestations of Larches, black pines, white and red firs.  Above 1800 meters (the peak area) there are high altitude prairies and wide stretches of blueberry fields; the latter is made up of European blueberry bushes often mixed with  juniper plants which together are the most stable natural vegetation at this altitude.  In the rocky outcroppings which frequently interrupt the prairies, only very few plant species find favourable living conditions, such as the saxifrage and some rare plants such as the artemisia umbrlliformis, woodsia alpina and the geranio argenteo, remnants of pre-glacial flora.

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 of the most important rare flowers can be found: rhododendron and columbine.



The diverse habitats present in the Frignano Park are home to a very varied fauna with an extraordinary number of animals as well. In regards to large mammals, there are many types  of deer, and numerous wild boar, as well as foxes and groundhogs, squirrels, dormice, and badgers.  At higher altitudes there is also the presence of snow voles, a small rodent “leftover” from the last glaciation; and of course wolves, which after a long absence have returned to this area even if they are still quite rare.  There are many types of birds in the protected area: among the birds of prey the most common are kestrels, sparrowhawks, buzzards and tawny owls, and goshawks, while the  golden eagle, thanks to abundant prey in this area, has begun nesting in the Park once again.  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.  The clear waters of the Park also host various fish species such as the brown trout, while the delicate ecosystems of the wetlands are inhabited by the alpine newt, common frog, and the fire salamander; and also reptiles such as the green whip snake, aesculapian snake, grass snake and the common viper.


Botanical garden

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 medicinal 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 June to September.



Parco Regionale dell'Alto Appennino Modenese

Temporary Legal Management Headquarters

Viale J.Barozzi, 340

41124 Modena


Pievepelago Headquarters

Via Tamburù, 8 - 41027 Pievepelago
Tel. +39 0536 72134 - Fax +39 0536 71394


Mountain lodges

Rifugio Capanno Tassoni
Via Capanna Tassoni, 4919
41021 Fanano (MO)

Rifugio Duca degli Abruzzi
Lago Scaffaiolo
41021 Fanano (MO)


Tourist Information

Parco del Frignano
Via Tamburu’, 8 - 41027 Pievepelago
Tel. +39 0536 72134 - Fax +39 0536 71394


I.A.T. del Cimone
Piazza Marconi, 1
41021 Fanano (MO)

Tel. +39 0536 68696 - Fax +39 0536 66561

IAT di Sestola
Corso Umberto I, 3
41029 Sestola (MO)
Tel. +39 0536 62324 - Fax +39 0536 61621


UIT di Fiumalbo
Via Coppi, 10
41022 Fiumalbo (MO)
Tel. +39 0536 73922 - Fax +39 0536 73909




Guardie Ecologiche volontarie Provincia di Modena

Parchi Emilia Centrale

Rifugio Lago Scaffaiolo


How to get here

Motorway exit A1 Modena, take the SS12 "Nuova Estense" till Pavullo nel Frignano. From here you can easily reach all the municipalities of the Modena Apennine. From Modena you can also take the SS 324 to Sestola, Montecreto and Rioluna

Last modified Jun 29, 2017

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