The Astronomical Observatory is a center dedicated to research, didactic, and scientific activities - in particular, astronomical scientific activities. It is situated on the summit of Mt. Rufeno (738m asl), in an early 20th century farmstead renovated by Monte Rufeno Regional Nature Reserve to offer the opportunity to better discover the sky.
The structure is dedicated to both school groups and single visitors. It is available all year round, by day and by night, both for the direct observation of the main astronomical objects with the telescope and to organize special interactive didactic packages on demand. As a matter of fact, the Observatory also houses a planetarium artificially reproducing the vision of the night sky with all its movements.
The main telescope, whose primary mirror has a diameter of 60cm, gives the opportunity to "learn the sky" by directly observing what it is not possible to see with the naked eye, but also to enjoy and spend a pleasant day or night surrounded by the universe we live in, using a wide range of means of communication: interactive and multimedia instruments and specific scientific didactic labs. The building is completed with an accommodation structure welcoming 20 guests for the night visits.
The duration of the stay and the activities can be changed on demand, adding personalized issues according to the school program or other modules you can find in the catalogue.
"Museo del Fiore" (The Flower Museum) awaits you with a charming tale leading you to appreciate the biodiversity of the territory of the reserve and introducing to the world of flowers, with their evolutionary and ecological aspects, their relationships with the world of animals and with men, up to the presentation of the local tradition of the so-called "Pugnaloni".
Particular attention has been paid to the means of communication: there are games, interactive and multimedia instruments, and the museum is equipped with Labs, Projection Halls, Toy Library.
The museum also offers a section in the open air consisting of the "Flower Nature Trail", an easy-intermediate ring-route with 21 educational stations dealing with the flower and territory, a picnic area to make your stop pleasant, Botanic Garden which will soon be completed, and hiking trails in Monte Rufeno Nature Reserve. Moreover, just behind Torre Alfina Castle, it offers the opportunity to visit Sasseto Monumental Woodland, a centuries-old forest-shelter, one of the most interesting naturalistic sites of Central Italy.
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The Botanic Garden is situated in the surroundings of "Museo Naturalistico del Fiore" and develops on two allotments divided by the old road connecting Torre Alfina with Acquapendente. The southern exposure and the local presence of two springs make this site ideal for the creation of the Botanic Garden, which covers a surface area of about one hectare. The Botanic Garden aims at preserving, carrying out research activities, teaching, protecting, and exploring. It supports the museum and aims at spreading the knowledge of environmental didactics. The groups of students coming to visit the Park can exploit the inner spaces of the Museum through didactic labs and the external spaces to test the issues dealt with in the Museum exhibits.
The itineraries developing in the Garden give the opportunity, with the help of qualified tour guides, to smell flowers and herbs, touch the barks, the leaves, and also the rocks and soils of the territory.
Visitors will feel emotions and carry with them a characteristic memory of the place.
Sasseto Woodland is situated in the northernmost section of Lazio, in the Municipality of Acquapendente, Torrealfina country hamlet. This particular forest covers a surface area of about 50 ha.
It is a unique example of mesophile woodland with centuries-old broadleaf plants and houses a rich fauna and flora with rare elements in Lazio. As a matter of fact, it has already been classified as an area of considerable vegetational value. The woodland lies at the foot of Torrealfina Castle, along a rocky itinerary with a northern exposure.
The slope housing it is made of the rests of a volcanic complex. The big lava boulders you can see in the woodland are the result of the fragmentation of some lava flows descending the slope leading to the valley of the river Paglia. Boulders and rocks of different size are scattered at the foot of the trees, forming in some places high and tormented piles. The rocks are sometimes black or light gray, sometimes reddish or violet because of oxidation phenomena.
Sasseto woodland is a mesophile high forest characterized by the presence of several centuries-old trees sinking their roots in the rocks covered by musk and by different fern species.
The name of the woodland derives from its spectacular geological substratum, and its peculiarity is linked to the presence of centuries-old trees like sessile oaks, Turkey oaks, white hornbeams, hollies, holm oaks, some of which are over 25 meters high and often have one-meter diameters.
In the woodland there is a Gothic-like mausoleum housing the rests of the Marquis Edoardo Cahen, the ancient owner of the castle.
Casale Felceto is situated in the protected area of Monte Rufeno. The building was abandoned by its last inhabitants in the 1960s, during a period of great migration from the countryside.
The Reserve has renovated the farmstead and uses it as a didactic and museum space dedicated to rural life, by maintaining unchanged the original disposition of rooms and furnishing and using the same objects of the farmers' families.