Vallombrosa – Nature and Soul

Vallombrosa is a place that captures the hearts of those who set foot there.

The forest with its pristine beauty and ancient history is a natural treasure that inspires wonder and contemplation.

Vallombrosa located about 10 km from Reggello and just over 30 from Florence, but it seems to belong to a world apart. Set in the western slope of the Pratomagno mountain range and covering an area of 1279 hectares at altitudes between 450 and 1450 m a.s.l. When you get here, the air becomes cooler, the scent of pine and chestnut trees fills your senses, and time seems to slow down.

The name Vallombrosa comes from the Italian “Vallis umbrosa,” meaning “shady valley,” and this is where the magic of this place begins. The forest is a refuge for the flora and fauna that inhabit it and a place to reconnect with nature and spirituality for humans.

The Unique Biodiversity

The Vallombrosa Forest is a place of beauty and history but also a sanctuary for biodiversity. Within it, many unique species of flora and fauna are found. Deer, wild boar and squirrels move freely through the trees, while eagles and hawks soar above the peaks.

The flora of Vallombrosa Forest is mainly distinguished into two areas:

in the lower part of the forest are black pine, chestnut, and turkey oak forests, while around the Abbey white spruce forests prevail.

Near the ridge, the dominant forest species is beech used in the past for coal production. Very beautiful and interesting and formations of holm oak, manna ash and heather, found on the rocky ridges facing southwest, and the numerous holly stations, spread throughout much of the forest–and also the tallest tree in Italy!

So many animals have found a home in the Vallombrosa forest, its fauna is abundant and with care and respect it will not be difficult to spot, among the mammals present, the roe deer, wild boar, fallow deer, weasel, as well as beech marten, dormouse, porcupine, hare, hedgehog, squirrel, badger, and fox while it will not be easy to see but Vallombrosa is also home to the wolf.

Looking up at the sky or among the foliage you can see the many species of birds, the various woodpeckers and fringillids but also diurnal and nocturnal birds of prey such as kestrels, buzzards, honey buzzards, owls, barred owls and even the rare eagle owl.

The ecosystem of water sources that is truly amazing. The forest is home to numerous springs of pure, crystal clear water, whose waters blend harmoniously with the surrounding landscape. These springs are vital to the survival of many species of plants and animals, and help maintain Vallombrosa as a jewel of biodiversity.

Vallombrosa is also home to one of the best-known experimental arboreta in Europe, in which more than 3,000 specimens of more than 1,300 types, belonging to 85 genera and from different parts of the world, coexist in perfect balance.

History and Spirituality

The history of Vallombrosa is intertwined with the Benedictine monastery that has stood here for more than a thousand years. The Vallombrosian monks, through their commitment to prayer and farming, helped shape the forest and protect its natural beauty. Even today, the monastery and its church are a place of reflection and spirituality.

For anyone visiting Vallombrosa, the presence of this monastery is tangible. The ancient walls give off a feeling of peace, and the silent cloisters invite contemplation. Even if one is far from religious faith, it is hard not to be touched by the serenity that permeates the place.

A Place of Inspiration

Vallombrosa is an inspiring place. Its natural beauty, its history shrouded in spirituality and its wealth of biodiversity speak directly to the human heart. It is a place that invites reflection and gratitude for the wonder of nature.

Vallombrosa has always been a destination for pilgrims, wayfarers, and tourists. The ‘registers of outsiders’ contain many famous names of literary men and artists, from John Milton to Frédéric Chopin, who on their “Grand Tour” between 1600 and 1800 visited the Benedictine abbey and were inevitably captivated by it, leaving traces in their works.

Visiting Vallombrosa is like taking a journey through time and space, where nature embraces the soul and reminds us of its extraordinary ability to inspire. Whether you are a modern explorer of nature, a seeker of inner peace or simply a curious traveler, Vallombrosa will welcome you with its warmth and timeless inspiration.

Reaching Vallombrosa:

by car

by bike

on foot

Trails and Pathways:

Initiatives and Events: