The Umbrian Forest
Since 7 July 2017, the ancient beech woods of the Umbra Forest have been registered in the List of Natural Heritage of Humanity protected by UNESCO as part of the transnational property “ANCIENT PRIMORDIAL BEECHES OF THE CARPATHIANS AND OTHER REGIONS OF EUROPE”
Nature is very rich and luxuriant in Monte Sant’Angelo. Here, in the heart of the Gargano National Park, grows the largest broad-leaved tree formation in Italy and one of the largest in Europe: the Umbra Forest. The name comes from the shadow created by the dense vegetation, which allows very few rays of sun to filter through. It covers an area of 10,500 hectares with an altitude ranging from 832 meters on Mount Iacotenente to 165 meters above sea level in the Cartate area. It is composed of beeches, turkey oaks, oaks, maples and holm oaks.
In the Umbra Forest/Foresta Umbra the beech can reach 350 years of age (at similar altitudes it is difficult to reach 250) and a height of 45 meters (usually the stature does not exceed 35). Moreover, the Foresta Umbra is a real nature reserve, where rare specimens of flora and fauna live. The “italicus roe deer”, the wild boar, the woodpecker, the weasel, the fallow deer, the fox and the wild cat populate the forest in complete tranquility. Among its beech trees, chestnut trees, Turkey oaks, carpines, oaks, holm oaks, yews, firs, maples and ash trees, there are 15 fascinating nature trails equipped for hiking and mountain biking. You will thus be able to enjoy healthy air, have lunch in the picnic areas and feed the animals in the reserve. In short, you will have the chance and the fortune of living a unique experience in contact with nature 32 are the km of paths equipped for hiking and trek-king. The ten ancient Italian beech forests, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage
Site for their exceptional naturalistic value and the incredible biodiversity that distinguish them, extend from Emilia Romagna to Basilicata. The Ancient Italian Beech Woods are part of the transnational environmental site of the “Primordial Beech Forests of the Carpathians and other regions of Europe”. The Italian ancient forests have been selected for their biological and ecological uniqueness. This prestigious recognition assumes an even more relevant value if we consider that out of the 53 Italian UNESCO sites, only five have obtained recognition for the natural aspects: the Aeolian Islands, Monte San Giorgio, Etna, the Dolomites and obviously the Antiche Beech woods. The Casentinesi Forests in Emilia Romagna are included in the ten Italian natural sites protected by UNESCO; the Beech forests of the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise, in the municipalities of Villavallelonga, Lecce in the Marsi, Pescasseroli and Opi in Abruzzo; the Beech forest of Monte Cimino and Monte Raschio in Lazio; the Umbra Forest in the Gargano National Park in Puglia; the Cozzo Ferriero Forest in Basilicata, in the Pollino Park. [source: ENIT _ ita-lia.it]