Università degli Studi di Firenze Comune di Firenze Istituto per la Protezione delle Piante

The arboretum of Vallombrosa, which ranks as Italy’s most important collection of plants cultivated for scientific and experimental purposes, currently holds approximately 5,000 specimens, subdivided into over 700 species of trees and shrubs. Founded in 1870 by Adolfo di Berenger, the first director of the Forestry Institute, it stands on silica ground in an area where chestnut trees give way to beech trees. Today’s arboretum is divided into seven smaller “arboreta”, created in different periods, each named after the curators who have been in charge from the year of its foundation to the present day: Arboreto di Berenger (1870), Arboreto Siemoni (1880), Arboreto Tozzi (1886), Arboreto Perona (1914), Arboreto Gellini (1894), Arboreto Pavari (1923-1958), Arboreto Allegri (1976).

Here, we will walk through a part of the Circuit of Chapels, a footpath that winds through the forest, reaching 10 chapels and shrines built mostly between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
The route is well marked and pleasant, and it will be possible to admire the forest while it is acquiring the autumn colours.
The starting point is the abbey, from which branch off the paved roads, which for centuries have come monks, devotees, flocks and timber coming down to the city.
It will be possible to observe Ulmus glabra individuals spread in the forest. This species here, as in the rest of the Apennines, represents a glacial relic, and the impact of DED on this population is leading to erosion of genetic variability and allelic richness.

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