About Natural Park of Sasso Simone and Simoncello

The Park, established in 1994, has been operative since 1996. It is a protected area that covers 4,847 hectares within the Province of Pesaro, in the historical territory of Monte Carpegna, and borders on Tuscany. It comprises six Municipalities: Carpegna, Frontino, Montecopiolo, Pennabilli, Pian di Meleto and Pietrarubbia.The size of Monte Carpegna along with the crags of Sassi Simone and Simoncello stand for the Park and mark its morphological profile. The Sassi rocks are two giant calcareous massifs apparently floating above a Turkey-oak wood that stretches for over 900 hectares. Some areas of the forest belong to the Military Property which has made possible their preservation by hindering any human activities, such as silviculture, and safeguarded some species of centuries-old trees.

On the peak of Sasso Simone are still the ruins of the ancient Città del Sasso built by Cosimo de’ Medici in the sixteenth century. The panorama from the far-reaching grasslands of Monte Carpegna, at 1,415 meters above sea level, wanders from the whole Adriatic coast to The Marches and Cosentino mountain chains.

The geologic history of this area began in Eocene, about fifty million years ago when the calcareous strata, making up the relief of Monte Carpegna and those of the adjacent mounts, formed in the deep waters of a marine basin there at that time in the Tyrrhenian Sea. During the formation of the Apennine chain, these lands translated and then gradually emerged from the sea and other rocky sediments deposited. Today, fossils of shells, echinoids, shark teeth and coral embedded in the rocks, witness the marine origin of such sediments.

The fauna present in the Park territory is typical of the central Apennines. The wolf reappeared here some years ago thanks to the abundance of its natural beasts of prey like wild boars, roe deer and fallow deer. Undisturbed foxes, badgers, stone-martens, polecats and weasels have always lived in the Park woods and natural areas. A curious rodent with long prickles has lately spread and become numerous: it’s the porcupine, the ancient Romans imported in Italy for culinary purposes.

If we raise our eyes the sky reveals the unmistakable shapes of the diurnal birds of prey.
Buzzards and kestrels dominate the Park with the lesser harrier, rapid peregrine falcon, sparrow hawk, honey.-buzzard and hobby. The golden eagle and the montagu’s harrier preying above the grasslands of Monte Carpegna can be seen sometimes while the goshawk prefers the mature woods of the Sassi rocks. The nocturnal birds of prey rule at night: little owls, scops owls, common owls, barn owls and tawny owls. The Park area also hosts many species of birds.

Among the amphibians are: crested and dotted newts, red and green frogs, tree frogs and common toads. The presence of the particular fire salamander and the Italian cave salamander testify the excellent condition of the environment.
The Parco Naturale del Sasso Simone and Simoncello boasts a unique richness of vegetation such as the extended Turkey-oak wood around the Sassi rocks and the Monte Carpegna grasslands with the blooming of colorful orchids late in spring. Also, the shrubs, dog-rose bushes, hawthorns and junipers found in the tracts of land delimiting the diverse ecosystems along with the grasslands, barren and stony surroundings, calanques, beech and mixed woods.

Unpolluted nature, millenary history, enchanting and unforgettable landscapes, traditional and tasty dishes undoubtedly capture the visitors of the Park.

An excursion through the Park or a walk in the numerous historical centers appeals to the visitors and the inhabitants of this territory where life is timeless and calm.