“Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita mi ritrovai per una selva oscura, ché la diritta via era smarrita” (In the middle of the journey of our life I found myself in a dark forest, for the straight path was lost)
In fact, it is almost obvious to think that some of the cantos of the Divine Comedy found inspiration in this ‘magical’ place. The Selva Del Lamone Nature Reserve is located in the municipality of Farnese, in the province of Viterbo, and is an area established in 1994. Formed by a wild and, at times, impenetrable forest, it took root more than one hundred and fifty thousand years ago on the lava flows erupted from the Latera volcano.
Today it is bordered by the Olpeta River, which marks its boundaries and, along its course, seems to become one with the forest itself. Close to the Reserve, one can admire two beautiful waterfalls formed by the river: the Pelicotonno waterfall and the Salabrone waterfall. These form the backdrop to important archaeological sites in the Reserve. In fact, as you walk along the unspoilt paths, you are able to take an excursus through history, from the Palaeolithic to the present day… you can see the remains of Etruscan necropolises, Roman farms and roads, and the more recent shepherds’ and charcoal burners’ huts dating back to the 1950s.
The vegetation within the Reserve is very varied and rich in protected species unique to the whole of Lazio. This particularly luxuriant flora has contributed to the creation of the myth of Dante’s forest. In addition to the conspicuous variety of plants, there is an untold variety of fauna: no less than 124 species of birds, 6 species of fish, 9 species of reptiles, 15 species of amphibians and 40 species of mammals.
Visiting the forest is possible but it is advisable never to leave the paths or follow a guide’s directions, as it is very easy to get lost. The staff of the Reserve do their best in all seasons to show the most suggestive and unique aspects of the Selva: the accumulations of lava boulders (the ‘murce’), the monumental trees, the Etruscan tombs and fortifications, the remains of Roman roads and much more. The network of paths allows you to come into close contact with the unspoilt nature that surrounds you, but before setting out, download the map of the paths from the website www.selvalamone. it or call 0761/458861 for advice on itineraries.