Home Parks and Protected Areas The Park of Colfiorito

Parks and Protected Areas

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The Park of Colfiorito PDF Print E-mail

The Park of Colfiorito is the smallest regional park. It was established in 1995 with the purpose of safeguarding the swamp of the same name, which is the most important part of the park, because of its ecosystems.  This area has been protected since 1976, by the Ramsar International Convention, due to the presence of a peat bog, the wealth of plant species and birdlife. The first real attempts at reclamation were made in 1570 by the hydraulics engineer Francesco Iacobilli of Foligno and then, in 1585, by his nephew Giulio Iacobilli, who began working on putting the waters into the Varano mains, but had to stop due to the opposition of the inhabitants of Camerino.

Partial reclamation was carried out with drainage of the waters through three natural ponors, but torrential rains caused the roof of the main ponor to collapse and obstructed the others, bringing the waters back to their previous levels. The Iacobilli family had, nevertheless, purchased the rights to this territory, but witnessed the failure of another attempt at reclamation in 1633, this time by Angelo di Francesco. The failure was again caused by the inhabitants of Camerino.  In 1652, he created a mill for grinding wheat, instead, exploiting the water leap from the collection basin to the ponor. Until 1806, they also claimed the rights to hunting and fishing in the area. After this year, the rights were granted to the Orfini family, until the unification of Italy, and then to a family from Colfiorito.

In the 20th century, specifically in the Seventies, the naturalistic and phytogeographic importance of the basin became clear. Francis Pedrotti, a botanist of the University of Camerino, made a first request, in 1969, to protect the swamp, suggesting it be used as a guided nature reserve, based on the list of biotopes to be protected in Italy. Presidential Decree no. 448, dated 3.03.1976, ratified the Ramsar Convention, and the swamp fell under its protection. In June 1977, it was declared a wetland of international value, by Decree of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests.  According to Regional Law no. 52, dated 27.12.1983, and thanks to seven other biotopes, the swamp was included in the "Areas of special naturalistic and environmental interest". The region of Umbria, with Regional Law no. 9, dated 03.03.1995, recognized the Park of Colfiorito and its territorial rights were acquired by the Monte Subasio Mountain Community.

The Park extends over an area of 338 hectares, situated on the plateau of Colfiorito of the Umbria-Marche Apennines. Of these, about 100 hectares are covered by the Colfiorito swamp, defined by the standard formulated in Natura 2000 and is “one of the best examples of wetland area in Central Italy and one of the very few Apennine Karstic-tectonic basins in a good state of preservation".

Plant life:

The plant life, meaning only vascular plants excluding vegetation such as algae, fungus, mosses and lichens, presents a very varied landscape, as follows:

• Lake vegetation is characterized by the white water lily (Nymphaea alba) and other water plants, whether submerged or floating, like the Yarrow (Myriophyllum verticillatum, Myriophyllum spicatum), Pondweed (Potamogeton crispus, Potamogeton pusillus, Potamogeton lucens), Bladderwort (Utricularia vulgaris) one of the few carnivorous species  in Italy, and other smaller communities such as the Arachis Geophyte Polygonum amphibium.

• Wetland vegetation, dominated by the Reed, followed by Reed Canary Grass, Gramignone Maggiore, Tule Maggiore, Narrow-leafed Cattail, Bulrushes and Rushes.

• Marshy grassland vegetation dominated by Sedges (Carex, Carex elata gracilis, Carex riparia), and also Ranunculus lingua, Iris pseudacorus, Butomus.

• Wetland vegetation characterized by Ranunculus velutinus, Hordeum secalinum, Deschampsia cespitosa, and Carex distans;

• Peaty grassland vegetation that was drastically reduced in the Sixties, as a result of Poplar plantations, the removal of peat and ploughing. It is now located only in the south-west area of the swamp in small areas with hot springs and layers of peat. It includes Carex panicea, Carex acuta, Carex hirta, Anacamptis laxiflora, Epipactis palustris, Eriophorum latifolium, Ophioglossum vulgatum, Menyanthes trifoliata, Equisetum palustre, Centaurea jacea, Valeriana officinalis;

• Pasture vegetation with prevalence of Forasacco eretto and Falascone, including Briza media, Luzula multiflora and Trifolium pratense in cooler areas and in flat areas, as well as Asperula purpurea, Eryngium amethystinum, Centaurea rupestris in the sunnier areas and on slopes;

• Shrubby vegetation, including the Prugnolo, the European Spindle, the Spinocervino and the Hawthorn, followed by Broom, junipers (Juniperus oxycedrum and Juniperus communis), and the rare Cytisus sessilifolius;

• Deciduous woodland vegetation, including a prevalence of the black Hornbeam, the Turkey oak and the Hungarian Maple;

• Agricultural crops, among which the most important are the red potato and lentils but there are also cereals and other legumes such as chickpeas and beans. Among crop weeds, there are Poppies, stinking Chamomile and Cornflower;

• Coniferous forestry Crops, among which the European Black Pine prevails.

The environmental diversity of the area offers ideal habitats for many species, including:

• Insect species, divided into:

-  Odonata, which require a rich variety of prey, indicating the presence of a consistent water micro fauna;

- Beetles;

- Lepidoptera;

- Hemiptera.

• Fish, like the Tench, the Eel, the Carp, the Crucian Carp and Goldfish;

• Amphibians, such as the Green Frog, the Greek Frog, the Agile Frog and the Great Crested Newt;

• Reptiles, such as the Green Whip Snake, the Grass Snake, the Dice Snake, the Four-lined Snake and the Viper;

• Birds like the Great Bittern, the Little Bittern, the Red Heron, the Squacco Heron, the Eurasian Reed Warbler and the Great Reed Warbler are rare and endangered species; the Mallard, the Coot, the Moorhen, the Grey Heron and White Heron, the Bearded Reedling, the European Penduline Tit, the Marsh Harrier, the Hen Harrier, the Common Snipe, the Common Teal, the Peewit, the Eurasian Wigeon, the Pochard, the Lapwing, the Black-tailed godwit, the Curlew and, lastly, other species that are not linked to the swamp environment, like the Buzzard, the Sparrow hawk, the Kestrel, the Barn Owl, the Tawny owl, the Woodpecker, the Skylark, the Stonechat, the Nuthatch, the Tree Pipit, the Yellow Wagtail, the Whinchat, the Red-backed Shrike, the Ortolan Bunting and the rare Red-throated meadow Pipit.

• Mammals, divided into:

- Insectivores, like the Hedgehog, the Water Shrew, the Common Shrew and the Greater White-toothed Shrew;

- Rodents, like the Squirrel, the Porcupine, the Wood Mouse and the Savi’s Pine Vole;

- Carnivores like the Wolf, which is the most important species, the Fox, the Weasel and the Beech Marten;

- Ungulates like the Wild Boar.

The most characteristic fauna of the Park is the bird population and especially the Bittern, whose uninque song can be heard and is similar to a mooing-noise.

Foligno is the Park’s only municipality.

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