PARKS AND NATURE RESERVES -
Parco Regionale del Monte Subasio
The Monte Subasio regional park occupies a surface area of 7,442 hectares around Assisi, Nocera Umbra, Spello and Valtopina. The park comprises the entire area around Mount Subasio and around the city of Assisi itself. Due to the abundance of places associated with the life and works of St Francis included within the boundaries of this reserve – including a number of hermitages and mountain shelters used by the saint and his brothers to pray – the Parco Regionale del Monte Subasio is also frequently referred to as the Parco di San Francesco.
The plant life of Umbria can be divided into three altitude areas, the lowest of which is largely occupied by extensive olive plantations. The middle level is densely wooded and includes the famous ilex forest around the Eremo delle Carceri and the beech forest of Macchione, while the highest level is made up of conifer forests and summer grazing meadows for sheep and cattle.
The region is known for its abundant and varied bird life.
THE TRABOCCO SPRINGS
These springs, which gush from one of the flanks of Mount Subasio, originate deep within the mountain’s chalky substrata. The porous nature of the terrain ensures that rainfall is channelled into springs that form in the basin beneath. The Trabocco springs feed the rivers Chiona and Tescio.
THE MORTARI AND KARST PHENOMENA OF MOUNT SUBASIO
The characteristic karst topography of Mount Subasio displays a number of dolines, sinkholes and underground cavities including the so-called mortari – basin-shaped depressions – such as the Mortaro Grande, the Mortaiolo and the Mortaro delle Trosce.
Near the Eremo delle Carceri the many natural caves have functioned as places of prayer and retreats for mystics and hermits through the centuries, including St Francis.
"Umbria...Cuore verde d’Italia. Umbria delle acque e dei Parchi, Agenzia di Promozione turistica dell'Umbria, Perugia, pg. 72, by kind permission.
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