History, culture, cordiality, unspoilt scenery and a great culinary heritage: the Apennine Mountains of Reggio Emilia is a treasure casket bursting with natural and cultural wonders, offered by the environment and protected by the efforts of the people who have lived and worked here since antiquity, safeguarding one of the most beautiful places in the northern stretch of the Apennines. This is an area steeped in history and popular traditions, crisscrossing through the profiles of the thirteen municipalities (Baiso, Busana, Canossa, Carpineti, Casina, Castelnovo ne' Monti, Collagna, Ligonchio, Ramiseto, Villa Minozzo, Vetto, Viano and Toano) watching over the territory and giving the area its unique and original flavour.
The Tuscan-Emilian Apennine National Park stretches out from the peaks of the Ridge, dropping down the mountainsides in a unique setting that changes from valley to valley, from more gentle slopes to precipices with a decidedly alpine feel. The moors and meadows at high quota, the forests of chestnut, beech, pine and fir, the glacial lakes, the peat bogs and the brooks make up a portfolio of great environmental interest. Deer, roe deer, mouflon and wild boar are the major fauna found in the park, but rare, wild wolves are also being seen once again, an animal loaded with symbolic value.
Wandering along the paths in the Park, you come across numerous old settlements with their characteristic stone buildings, some of which date back to the fifteenth century. As you gradually approach the valley, the history of the centuries - old power struggle between the Empire and Pontificate has left an important mark on the area in the castles and churches in the lands owned by Matilda of Canossa. From Rossena to Canossa, from Sarzano to Felina and Carpineti, a system of castles was constructed to form a defensive barrier to protect the property of Grand Countess Matilda, the leading female figure in the medieval period.
The numerous towns in the mountains bustle as people go about everyday life, with Castelnovo ne' Monti the lively main town and an important reference point with its shops, restaurants and facilities serving the whole mountain community, dominated by the Majestic beauty of the Pietra di Bismantova mountain (1047 m above sea level).