Natural area, Sasso Marconi
The nature reserve of Contrafforte Pliocenico is a protected regional area only since 2006, although its importance as a natural area in need of protection was known long before.
The territory falls under the control of the Metropolitan City of Bologna and covers a bit over 2600 hectares, with a total extension of 15 km. Between the valleys of the rivers Setta, Savena, Zena and Idice, it features rocky outcrops of sandstone from the Pliocene (between 5 and 2 millions of years ago).
The origin of the rocks is the sedimentation of gravel and sand that, during millions of years have been transported by the Apennine rivers, along what used to be a huge marine gulf.
The gulf covered most of the actual Bolognese Apennine. Its level rose and lowered giving place to numerous sedimentation phases that can be seen on the rocks.
We can find sediments rising 600 meters above sea level, displaying particular and strange shapes due to the millions of years of exposition to environmental factors.
It is not surprising to find the area rich of well-preserved marine fossils, as the whole area was once a vast seabed,
The mountains that today are part of the protected area are: Monte Adone, Monte delle Formiche, Monte Mario, Rocca di Badolo and Monte del Frate.
The whole area is a natural haven for the flora and fauna of the Apennine, and it’s easy to see local different species of hawks and other local birds.
It can be visited only following the routes signed by the CAI, as it is a delicate and protected area, and it is not advised to wander off the proposed itineraries.