The Parco dell’Orecchiella is a real gem in the Garfagnana area, with hectares of woods offering a multitude of hiking paths while admiring wild animals and visiting natural museums. The park is less than one hour drive from Casa Tolomei.
Today we decided to go despite an unpromising weather forecast, to beat the closure of the park at the end of October (during October it’s only open on Sundays).
One of a pack of wolf sculptures that are displayed near the visitor centre.
A short walk from the visitor centre, we met with a group of mouflon (a bit like a mountain goat.)
And further along, we absolutely loved our encounter with the bears
The small bear was very curious, or maybe just hopeful to get something nice, like berries?
It was a misty autumn day up there among the summits
The autumn colours were already starting to come out
A few chestnuts in the bag (presently roasting in our wood oven).
We found all kinds of mushrooms and toadstools on the woodland floor. Unfortunately we are not experts but we’re fairly sure these are not safe to eat! We’re still waiting for the day when we’ll find the famous Porcini!
We were really happy that we made the trip up into the mountains, for despite the weather we truly enjoyed the Autumn atmosphere. The park is usually open between April and October (only on certain days during some months.) The entrance fee is very reasonable (in 2019, 2 euros adults, 1 euro children over six) and entitles you to see the animals and other managed attractions of the park. Definitely worth a visit!