Tuscany: Donkey trips in the Casentino Forest National Park – This week we’re going to Tuscany, to discover the beauty of the Casentino valley, with its quiet and relaxing pace of times gone by. We’re on the back of a donkey, accompanied by two members of our blogger family: the Rintronauti. This is a new and engaging way to explore Tuscany, involving all the senses, a real backpacking adventure in nature. A real experience powered by Brickscape!
Tuscany: Donkey trips in the Casentino Forest National Park
Where are we going?
We’re traveling in the heart the Casentino Forest National Park. It comprises one of the oldest and stunning forest of Europe (aprox. 20 square miles) with thousands and thousands of individual trees, tall columns that meet in an immense natural cathedral. Even the horror film director and producer Dario Argento knows the Casentino forest as a place of magic. A fascinating forest with meditative silence that can transform itself in a second into astonishing noises and sounds, with the unexpected presence of wildlife, including various deer, wolves, eagles, and falcons too. Spending few days here, its an unique experience that can mark your own life!
Donkeys are tame, gentle animals. They are perfect to bring young children to natural places and experiences. This excursion’s donkeys are fitted with a work pack called a “basto,” that can transport everything you may need (food, clothin’ etc) to make the ride even more special.
Marta and Fabio’s professionalism, and their ways of treating children, parents and donkeys too, endeared them to us. They involved all the children: from the smallest to the most extrovertedfrom the most timid the most restless. Before departing, all the children had to pet and brush the donkeys, to get to know them and gain confidence with the animal on which they would be riding.
The trip starts inside the Casentino Forest National Park, and it takes about an hour. The woods, which blaze with fall color in autumn, are enchanting. We are spellbound with its immense beauty, it intoxicating profume and the light patterns through the foliage. The children take turns getting on the backs of the little donkeys Fabietto, Claretta and Tina.
At the end of a wonderful morning we found steaming hot, roasted Casentinesi chestnuts waiting for us, which we devoured along with vin Brule, coffee and walnuts. We enjoyed our snack, looking the beautiful view of the mountains surrounding us.
An excursion on donkeys in the forest allows for various levels of difficulty — from an easy ride for children to trips of several days for adults. Having the donkeys allows one to move around freely and profit from that flexibility in an environment — a National Park — with many different types of natural areas, to have an unique experience in the company of these patient animals with their own dispositions.
What else you can see and do in the sourroundings?
In the same area, you can visit the wonderful Monastery at Camaldoli or the breathtaking hermitage of San Francisco. It doesn’t matter what kind faith you have or even if you are religious or not. These places got a special energy that goes beyond the confines of religions and inspire the heart and mind. You can also visit a lot of ancient medieval castles, reaching back in history to ancient legends and great heroes. The best one is in Poppi and we strongly suggest to pay a visit there.
You can also discover some cheese-making shops of the Pratomagno hills, where the typical Pecorino cheese is prepared. If you are lucky enough, you can also enter in some laboratory and take a look at the whole process of cheese making. You have to know that one of the most famous and ancient Italian cheese, after the well-known Parmisean.
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