The forest of S. Antonio in Reggello
The forest of S. Antonio is located at a few km from the town of Reggello (Florence) and it covers over 100 hectares on the Western edge of the mountains of Pratomagno.
The forest of S. Antonio, at the south of the renowned forest of Vallombrosa, has maintained a remarkable natural and unsullied aspect over the centuries.
It was from its woods of birches, chestnut trees and other trees with large leaves that local villagers got their sustenance and were able to obtain what they needed for their daily needs; not only food (chestnuts, berries, mushrooms and undergrowth fruit), but also wood for heating and for the crafting of mundane tools.
An historical example of this respectful binding between man and nature is the presence of some rare buildings in the forest: drying huts for chestnuts and shelters for shepherds. The local settlements include: Pratopiano, Massa la Vite, Bartolesse, Prato di Dietro, Mandro Vecchio, Massa Bernagia, Capanno del Cardellino, Casa S. Antonio. The latter, built in 1599 by the people of Vallombrosa, played the important role of border settlement between the properties of the monastery of Vallombrosa and the lands of the Four Peoples of Reggello, such as Cascia, Pontifogni, Casagli e Santa Tea.
The land features include many deep valleys and steep slopes, rocky outcrops and ridges. The most important stream flowing in the area is the Resco, which also collects the waters of the stream of S. Antonio. The area features many natural springs dotting the entire territory. The local wildife includes many different species, such as wolvers, deer, boars, foxes, weasels, squirrels, dormice, porcupines and pole-cats, just to name the most known ones.
The natural inegrity of the forest ensures the surivival of its rich variety of plants and animals and ensured its inclusion in the Regional System of the Protected Areas (R.L. n.52 of 1982 and subsequent modifications) and in the areas of special naturalistic quality, according to the European Community of Life (Dir. 92/43/CEE).
The Forest is property of the regional authority and it is managed by the Mountain Community of Florence.