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Protected Area

Identity Card

  • Land Surface Area (ha): 757,40
  • Lower altitude (m): 100
  • Higher altitude (m): 654
  • Regions: Emilia-Romagna
  • Provinces: Bologna
  • Municipalities: Monzuno, Pianoro, Sasso Marconi
  • Establishment Measures: Del. Regione Emilia-Romagna, n. 61 31/05/2006
  • PA Official List: EUAP0916


Rocca di Badolo (photo by Vanna Rossi)
Rocca di Badolo
(photo by Ornella De Curtis)

The Nature Reserve

The Nature Reserve, established in 2006, is the largest in the Region. It protects the imposing rocky complex developing for about fifteen kilometers transversely to Reno, Setta, Savena, Zena, and Idice valleys, culminating in the wonderful Mt. Adone (654m), Rocca di Badolo and Mt. Rosso and, immediately beyond the border of the protected area, ending in the panoramic Monte delle Formiche (638m), where Santa Maria di Zena Sanctuary lies.

The golden sandstone of the spectacular rocky walls deposited on the bottom of a small sea gulf during the Pliocene (5-2 million years ago) and preserves important fossil evidences. The particular morphologies shaped by erosion, with towers, cliffs, gorges, and small caves, have gave origin to diversified and contrasting environments of great floristic and wildlife interest for the presence of Mediterranean plants and rare bird species on the sunny slopes, and for the presence of beech trees, hollies, and other characteristic species of the mountain areas on the northern slopes, less steep and covered with woodlands.

Over the centuries, and above all because of the bombing of the last war, medieval castles, villages, and churches have been lost. Despite this, the territory still preserves interesting evidences like the particular houses of Livergnano, partly dug into the sandstone wall.

Alveolar erosion characteristic of the coast (photo by Antonio J. Rodríguez Ocaña)
Alveolar erosion characteristic of the coast

Geology and Paleontology

The spectacular sandstone of the Nature Reserve is the evidence of a small sea gulf of the Pliocene (5-2 million years ago), when the current Po Plain was still covered by an open and deep sea, next to which most of the chain of the Apennines was already emerged. On the outcropping rocks in the walls of the Contrafforte there are several evidences recalling their place of origin: beaches beaten by the waves, where the raging torrents of the Apennines used to flow.

Sedum (photo by Ornella De Curtis)

Flora and Vegetation

The morphologies of Contrafforte have given life to a great variety of environments with clashing microclimates characterized by a vegetation that, besides the characteristic plants of the hills and low mountains, also includes more rare and unusual species.
The dark evergreen foliage of the ilex tree stand out, scattering the sunny slopes and sometimes giving birth to greenish formations together with other characteristic plants of the Mediterranean area like the phillyrea, the buckthorn, the tree heath, the sage leaf rockrose, and the Osyris.

Female Peregrine (photo by Francesco Grazioli)
Female Peregrine

The Wildlife

The wildlife species of greatest interest are linked to the rocky spurs of Contrafforte, that have been among the few places where the Peregrine could take shelter also in the most difficult period, which lasted until the end of the 1980s.

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