What it is and where it is
Within the Castelli Romani Natural Park, over an area of about 75 hectares, clearings rich in dog rose, blackthorn and hawthorn alternate with areas of forest, where mighty ancient oaks soar like giants or lie on the ground like sleeping giants. A valuable habitat for local flora and fauna, the Cerquone forest is a Site of Community Interest because it is one of the last remnant patches of original original forest, containing plant species typical of colder, northern forests.
Why it is special
The presence of mixed forest, with a predominance of Oaks, makes it unique and rare in a landscape heavily modified by man, where Chestnut cultivation has supplanted the original vegetation. Its status as a Site of Community Interest means that even the giant specimens that have collapsed to the ground are not removed, offering-as well as food and shelter to a diverse animal and plant community-a striking spectacle to visitors' eyes.
Not to be missed
A visit to the oldest part of the forest. As you penetrate into the silence of the forest, you will encounter some centuries-old specimens of oak (Quercus robur) that reach a circumference of three meters: they deserve a hug!
A bit of history
Until the 1930s, there was a water collection near the forest, the Doganella Lake. The lake was later drained, and the area is currently a wetland that is also a site of community interest, as it is underrepresented in the Lazio region at hilly elevation (500 mt approx.).
A legend says that in an unspecified past, a woman, while collecting wood in the woods, heard a great clamor of armor and pawing of hooves.... Shortly afterwards a knight appeared riding his steed, fully harnessed in shining armor...but without his helmet and without his head!
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