Tuscan-Emilian Apennine National Park

This is one of Italy’s youngest 25 national parks. Designated in 2001 the Tuscan-Emilian Apennine National Park covers the stretch of Apennine mountain ridges that joins Emilia-Romagna to Tuscany.

In the video, the trails between Parma’s Berceto and Modena’s Lago Santo, along the Long Distance footpath the Alta Via Dei Parchi. By Aereisentieri

What’s special

  • Dramatic mountain landscapes.
  • The Mountains of Alpe di Succiso, Mount Prado, and Mount Cusna which all summit over 2000 meters.
  • Walking, hiking and trail running for all abilities on well marked trails.
  • The natural environment – deep valleys, moorlands, glacial lakes, abundant chestnut groves, rich beech woods and dense forests of silver firs.
  • Rich diversity of wildlife such as the Gray wolf, red deer and roe deer, mouflon, alpine marmot, wild boars, golden eagle, peregrine falcon and kestrels.
  • You can come across several rare species of plant wildlife including: Salix herbacea, a species of tiny creeping willow, Giunco di Jacquin  – Jacquin’s Rush, creeping sibbaldia, and the interestingly named Carex foetida – Stinking Sedge
  • The Park comes under the diverse climatic influences of both the Mediterranean and the Po Valley
  • The ancient Pilgrim’s route, the Via Francigena passes through.
  • Orecchiella Nature Reserve in Garfagnana
  • The Park is a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve

Highlights in “Parco Nazionale dell’Appennino Tosco Emiliano”

Monte Prado 2.054 m, Garfagnana, Tuscany
Monte Prado 2.054 m, Garfagnana, Tuscany

Pietra di Bismantova – Rock of Bismantova

IMG by Trail Della Pietra
Img courtesy of  Trail Della Pietra – Bismantova Rock on the race route

The fascinating geological spur that sprouts out of the ground quite unlike anything else on the horizon. The Bismantova Rock…. Said to have inspired Medieval Italian poet and philosopher: Dante Alighieri’s “Mount Purgatory” in his epic trilogy the Divina Commedia.

It’s an impressive sight and a popular destination for rock climbers, trail runners and hikers.
 Plus during the summer months it’s also the location for concerts and events. See more:  www.lapietraelabismantova.it (in English)

Alta Via dei Parchi
 – The Park’s High Route

If you’re up for a mighty challenge see the Long Distance Path the “Alta Via dei Parchi”The Park’s High Route which runs across two of Italy’s National Parks,  Tuscan-Emilian Apennine National Park and also the Parco Nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi.

At over 500km long it proves a superb destination for hikers and long distance walkers. Running across Le Marche, Tuscany and Emilia Romagna, the route is officially sub-divided into 27 stages, and is fully waymarked.
See more: download – the Brochure in English: pieghevole_AVP_ENG_definitivo_10 ago_2012


Climatic Differences

Two distinct characters give the Park its unique identity. The Parco Nazionale dell’Appennino Tosco Emiliano comes under the diverse climatic influences of both the Po Valley and the Mediterranean.

Emilia Romagna gives us  the areas of Parma and Reggio Emilia that are weathered by the more humid climes of the Po Plain.
Here the flat, agricultural basin, rises up to gentle hills that eventually make way to the impressive, tall and rocky ridgeline that culminates with the abrupt border of Emilia Romagna and the vast opening of Tuscany, where the Park’s landscape changes under the influences of warmer climes of Massa Carrara and Lucca, respectively in Lunigiana and Garfagnana. With the vicinity to the Mediterranean sea comes vast, ample views across the waters and beyond.

Plan your visit to the Tuscan-Emilian Apennine National Park

Getting there

Fly to Milan, Bologna, Verona, Pisa or Genoa.


The Parks has different types of accommodation within and the area. From hotels, campsites, b&b’s to apartments. Check out the official link here:

Trail Races in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennine National Park and in surrounding areas

  • The AVP501 Endurance trail is a 500km trail event that covers the Long distance hiking trail “Alta Via Dei Parchi” that crosses both the Tuscan-Emilian Apennine National Park and also the Parco Nazionale Foreste Casentinesi. Visit the official website here: http://www.avp501.com
  • Race on the famous Bismantova Rock in the Trail della Pietra 
  • Ecomaratona del Ventasso will take you right up to the summit of Mont Ventasso at over 1700 metres.
  • Ultra K trail race touches parts of the spectacular ridgeline right on the border with Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany.
  • Trail della Riva takes place in nearby Sassi di Roccamalatina, with fairy tale like rock formations and enchanting forests.
  • High up in the Appenines in the province of Modena, and into the Garfagnana the Lago Santo Mountain Race is a trail with some spectacular views.
  • Cima Tauffi Trail a classic trail which draws in a wide range of trail and mountain runners.

Tuscan-Emilian Apennine National Park

Visitors centers

Contacts Tuscan-Emilian Apennine National Park

Via Comunale, 23 – 54013 Sassalbo (MS)
Telefono +39 0585 947200-1
Email: info@parcoappennino.it

Official website: www.parcoappennino.it

Further Resources

Interactive mapper: www.parcoappennino.it/mapper

Cicerone Press: “Trekking in the Apennines – The Grande Escursione Appenninica”

by Gillian Price

Guidebook to the Grand Apennines Trek, or Grande Escursione Appenninica (GEA). Through Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna and two National Parks


Maria E. BelliniMaria Elisabetta Bellini is Italyontrail.com’s founder, born in the U.K, she came to running whilst living in Italy, where she still lives and trains. Never ceasing to marvel at what’s at the summit of a hill, or around the bend along the trail, she loves using trail running as a means to explore nature, contemplation and Italy.