The Upper Tiber Valley in Tuscany has remained much as it was since the ancient Romans were using the sturdy oak trees of the zone to construct the Empire.
The river also offered a convenient way of transporting the timbers all the way to the capital.
Notwithstanding this activity, the first permanent towns only rose in medieval times thanks to the presence of various monasteries.
Indeed, the monks of the St. Romualdo order set about regulating the zone by controlling the traffic on the river and issuing contracts for land cultivation.
Today, the woods and country walks are as wild as they used to be and visitors can enjoy the rare flora and fauna in special protected zones, as well as the more common deer, badgers and foxes without too much difficulty.
Do head to the artificial Lake Montedoglio in the centre of the Upper Tiber Valley in Tuscany where bird spotters can see a range of water birds from herons to the fabuously named ‘Knights of Italy’.
Read on about the individual towns of the valley, but do make a note of the following areas to explore further: the thick woods of Germagnano and Montecasale, the chestnut and beech tree forest of Caprese Michelangelo and the green meadows of Badia Tedalda and Sestino.