Environment> List of Woods and Parks

The Colli Albani's area originated from a volcano that was active during the quaternary. The different explosion phases began 700.000 years ago and ended 20.000 years ago. The volcanic structure covers an area of 1500 km², its shape is that of a truncated cone with an height of 1 km (the highest height is that of the Monte Faete, 956 metres above the sea level). This structure is in its central part steeper than the surroundings, its depression reaches a diameter of ten kilometres.

The past splendour of the Colli Albani's thick forests is marked by a series of woods characterized by different arboreal kinds: hornbeams, lindens, maples, elms, common beeches, and several types of oaks. This vegetation was gradually substituted with the plantation of chestnut trees during the 17th century, and now the chestnut is the commonest of the area's trees.

On the Colli Albani's southern slopes there are trees which grow in heater and dryer climate: ilexes and English oaks, together with shrubby plants such as strawberry trees, the viburnum, the heather, the cistus, the butcher's-broom, and sometimes the holly. This area is also characterized by the scopiglieto, i.e. bushes of brooms with yellow, sweet-scented flowers. It is a “pioneer” species, that can grow on poor and dry soils.

Among the mammals there are: foxes, weasels, hedgehogs, porcupines and hazel mice; the latter is a small dormouse, that builds its spherical nest, where it spends the winter sleeping, with leaves and twigs. Among the daily birds of prey: there are buzzards, kestrels, hawks. At dawn, you can hear the calls of nocturnal birds of prey: that of a small migratory owl, the scops owl, very repetitive, and that of the little owl, well-known and wrongly feared.

During winter, in the water of the lakes Albano and of Nemi, there are groups of ducks and other water-birds, coming from central and north Europe. In the woods there are: picus virdis, the dendrocopus major, (its presence is marked by nesting cavities) and the tree-creepers, a small passerine with a down curved beak, and woodpecker-like habits.

Among the Mediterranean birds there are: the sparrows, with its slate-grey feathers and a fluted chirp, and the white-throats. Among the commonest reptiles, there are: the lizards, the green lizard, with its emerald green skin, and the Aesculapian snake, an innocuous greenish snake, that eats mice. Among the amphibians there is the brownish frog, with terrestrial habits.

The whole volcano's area belong to the Parco Regionale dei Castelli Romani, an institution that was created to safeguard the integrity of the area's natural species.

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