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Home Apennines and Nature Natural parks Interregional Park Sasso Simone e Simoncello

Interregional Park Sasso Simone e Simoncello

This Park is mostly located in the Region Marche; one third of it lies in the Municipality of Pennabilli, in the Marecchia Valley, which in 2009, along with six other municipalities, seceded from le Marche and became part of Emilia-Romagna.

This protected area, established in 1994, has an approximate total area of 12.000 hectares, and extends out over the heart of Montefeltro and covers the municipalities of Carpegna, Frontino, Montecopiolo, Pian di Meleto, Pennabilli and Pietrarubbia.  The most characteristic morphology element is the striking contrast between calcareous outcroppings, which account for a lot of the terrain, and also the clayey areas that make up the bucolic hillside landscape.  Walking along the paths of the park one easily notices the extreme diversification in vegetation, but the protected area also contains important historic heritage including the city-fortress of Sasso, built by Cosimo I de’Medici starting in 1560.

The landscape, hilly-mountainous, contains the peaks of Sassi Simone and Simoncello, Monte Canale, Monte Palazzolo with altitudes between 670 m and 1415 m above seal level, and Monte Carpegna, summit of the park which separates the Foglia Valley from the Marecchia Valley.


Parco Simone e Simoncello JPG


The vegetation below an altitude of 800 m is made up of woods with a large mixture of arboreal species.  The downy oak, turkey oak, hop hornbeam, field maples and the Neapolitan maple are the most common trees and among the shrubbery there are the dogwood, cornel tree and the hazel tree.

The turkey oak dominates together with the hornbeam for more than 800 hectares, up to Sassi Simone and Simoncello.  In the underbrush, numerous species of typical forest grasses grow, such as Wild Ginger and the very elegant martagon lily, while on the edge of the forest the mountain cornflower, a non-native species, prospers.  On the sunny mountainsides of Monte Canale, Monte Cassinelle and of Monte Carpegna, used mostly for grazing, this vegetation landscape is spotted with shrubbery such as juniper and dog rose, unmistakable due to its red berries that last until late winter just waiting for the disseminating birds.  In the woods above 1000m of altitude, where the climate is cooler, the predominant tree is the beech tree, while ferns sprout up out of the dense carpet of leaves.

On the eastern side of Monte Carpegna, a reforestation of black pines was carried out during the first half of the 20th century.  The pastures of Monte Carpegna, located at an altitude of about 1200-1400 m, were cut out of the beech wood and probably also fir woods; at the beginning of spring the green of these fields is dotted with the colors of crocuses, followed by the various colors of orchids and lastly by the colchicum, at the end of summer.


The Park is home to numerous species of wild animals: the fox is the most common carnivore, accompanied by the Badger, the small and agile Weasel, the beech Marten and the Skunk.  The smallest and most common among the ungulate is the roe deer which dots the landscape at night and early in the morning it is easy to see it coming out of the thick woods to feed in the glades and uncultivated areas.  The wild boar can be found, thanks to the introduction of some boars from central Europe about ten years ago.  Among the smallest mammals are the Squirrel and the field Mouse.  Also the porcupine, the biggest rodent of Italian fauna, lives in the Park, as does the Hare, present in particular in the ecotonal zones. 

Among the amphibians, we can count the crested newt and the smooth newt, the red frog and the green frog, the tree frog and the common toad. The Viper is the one species of poisonous snake, other reptiles present are: thewestern whip wnake, the aesculapian snake, the grass gnake, the Italian wall lizard and ruin lizard, the green lizard, the serpent lizard and the blindworm.

And of course, in all of the Apennine territory, there is the wolf, symbol of conservation, because it has been able to colonize new areas, adapting.  A plethora of causes have aided in the progressive reinsertion of the wolf: from the effects of the animal protection laws, to the gradual abandonment of the countryside by men.

There are various species of birds of prey that can be observed, in different seasons and habitats: the Sparrowhawk, an elusive small bird of prey; the Goshawk, bigger, and also native to forest habitats, but rarer.  Much easier to see are the Kestrel and the Buzzard.  If you are careful and lucky, you can see the: Golden Eagle, the Peregrine Falcon and the Lanner.  With the arrival of spring, there are also migrating birds: the Short-toed Eagle, a bird of prey with white feathers that surveys the land hunting for snakes; the Hobby, a little light and quick falcon that with quick movements captures its prey in flight, the Honey Buzzard and the Harrier are also constantly perusing.  When night falls, the Park is filled with other hunters, nocturnal birds of prey such as the Screech Owl and the Pygmy Owl, whose habitats include abandoned houses and ruins and can also be found in inhabited areas.  Less evident is the common Owl, observable only at night while it hunts in open spaces or in the day while it rests in the trees or on wires.  Lastly, standing still in one place in the woods and imitating its call, it is easy to hear and to see the tawny Owl, who believing that you are one of his own, responds quite decisively to let you know that this territory is his.

Points of Interest

- Fauna Park

The Fauna Park is located in Pian dei Prati, and is made up of a 5.5 hectare area with fields, hawthorn bushes, blackthorn and broom, hedges and small woods, alongside of the Seminico River.  The pathway through the Fauna Park includes three fundamental steps:

1 – getting to know domestic animals such as goats, sheep, mules, animals from which, in the past, farming families got their milk, meat and workforce, fundamental resources for everyday life.

2 – the close observation of wild animals in their own habitat inside the Fauna Park: the Roe deer that eat in the glades and underbrush while the frogs, toads, and newts find their natural habitat in the swamps alongside of the pathway.

3 – the pathway ends with the arrival at an observation point just outside the Fauna Park from which, with a little luck and respect for the silence that pervades this area, it is possible to see wild boars looking for bulbs, tubers and acorns or busy taking a very healthy mud bath.

Inside the Fauna Park, there are also observation points with benches and trash bins and numerous birdhouses for the Passeriformes that find a wide variety of berries in the bushes of this area.

- Botanical Garden

The botanical garden of San Silvestro is located in Ponte Cappuccini.  It is a small area that hosts incredible autochthonous vegetation made up of arboreal plants and shrubberies as well as many different kinds of grasses.  The Park has also added other plant species to the habitat; furthermore informative panels have been placed throughout, in order to make information about the main plants present available to stimulate the search for these plants inside the garden, and there are also signs used to identify each species.  In the botanical garden, there are shrubs such as the cornel tree, hawthorn, broom and red broom, wild roses, blackthorn, sambuca, smoke bush and buckthorn.  Among the arboreal species: the hazel tree, the turkey oak, the downy oak, the manna ash, the ash, common elm, Norway maple, field and mountain maples, wild pear, medlar trees, hop-hornbeam, laburnum, wild service trees, sorb-apple trees, yew trees, and holly trees besides numerous other species.  As this is an ideal habitat for nesting, there are numerous birdhouses.  Admission to the botanical garden of Pietrarubbia is free; it can be visited every day and for more information or guided tours, please contact the visitors’ center (Tel. +39 0722 75350).

Parco Naturale del Sasso Simone e Simoncelli
Via Rio Maggio - 61021 Carpegna (PU)
Tel: +39 0722 770073
Fax: +39 0722 770064

Visitors’ Centers

Environmental Education Center
On the slopes of Monte Carpegna - 61014 Montecopiolo Locality Calvillano (PU)

Tel. +39 0721 700224
The Center of Environmental Education of Montefeltro is located in Calvillano, in the Municipality of Montecopiolo, on the slopes of Monte Carpegna; it includes a guest area with 26 beds, complete with a kitchen, and some didactic labs useful for carrying out scientific experiments and nature research.

Pennabilli Visitors’ Center and Natural Museum
Via dei Tigli, 5/a - 61016 Pennabilli (RN)
Tel. and fax +39 0541.928047

Visitors’ Center
Via Montefeltresca - 61023 Pietrarubbia Locality Pontecapuccini (PU)
Tel. and fax +39 0722.75350


Ermes Ambiente

How to get there

From the south: take the A14 highway, exit at Pesaro - S. S. 423 - Montecchio - S. P. Fogliense - Pietrarubbia - Carpegna.
From the north: A14 take the A14 highway, exit at Rimini Nord - S. S. 9 up to Santarcangelo di Romagna- Ponte Verucchio - S. S. 258 Marecchiese - Ponte Messa - Pennabilli.
From the northeast: take the A14 highway, exit at Rimini Sud - S. S. 258 Marecchiese - San Leo - Villagrande di Montecopiolo.

Last modified Jun 29, 2017

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