A forest a stone's throw from the city

On the gentle hills without particular differences in height and tiring climbs, it is possible to spend a day in the open air.
A network of paths winds through a mixed forest of oaks and turkey oaks, many of which already existed in the past when “I Boschi” were a hunting reserve for noble families.

The undergrowth is particularly interesting in spring, when it is covered with abundant blooms, while in autumn, the banks of the lakes and the Monumental Garden of the Casino de’ Boschi are tinged with colors unusual for our forests. In fact, there are many exotic forest species that Maria Luigia and the Carrega family have introduced into the area.

More than half of the park’s over one thousand hectares are covered in woods, often flanked by long hedges.
Most of the species are made up of chestnut and beech trees planted in the first decades of the last century.
Among other trees, manna ash, black locust and field maple are frequent.
Among the shrubs, tufts of the aquiline fern predominate.
The remaining forest cover is made up of oak forests alternating with conifers and other broad-leaved trees. There are also some specimens of exotic plants, including the cedar of Lebanon, the American white fir and the sequoia.

Over 400 species of fungi have been detected. The most suitable season for their growth is late summer and autumn, but even in spring you can find the gray morel and the budded vescia, as well as the prized blackthorn. The formation of ox tongue is typical on chestnut trees. The grassy areas are especially suitable for the growth of the common field mushroom and the drumstick.

The roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) is undoubtedly the most representative animal of the park. It is found free throughout the protected area. Wild boar has also been present in some areas for about twenty years. Among the mammals there are also the vole, the hedgehog, the dormouse, the shrew, the squirrel and the hare. Among the carnivores are the fox, the badger, the stone marten, the porcupine and the weasel.

The avifauna is very diverse, including around 70 species present regularly throughout the year.
Among these are the green woodpecker, the great spotted woodpecker, the great tit, the nuthatch, the redstart, the jay, the robin, the nightingale and the greenfinch.
Among the birds of prey are the sparrowhawk, the owl, the scops owl and the owl.
Some aquatic species come and go from the nearby Taro River Regional Park, such as the little egret, the night heron, the gray heron and various species of ducks.

Among amphibians, the common toad, the green frog, the tree frog and the crested newt are common; less frequent are the green toad, the yellow-bellied toad and the spotted salamander. Among the reptiles, the pond turtle is frequent, which inhabits lakes (in particular Lago delle Navette and Lago della Svizzera) and pools. Also present are the slow worm, the rat snake, the snake and the grass snake. The common viper and the smooth snake have also been reported sporadically.

Inside the park you can find some architectural jewels.
The Casino dei Boschi is a building built by Duchess Maria Amalia of Bourbon between 1775 and 1789. It was designed by the French architect Petitot on a pre-existing hunting chalet.
In 1819 it was purchased by Maria Luisa of Austria, who commissioned the architect Nicola Bettoli to renovate the building according to the neoclassical style. He added a very long colonnade with the Casinetto in the centre, a building with a clock and bell tower, which housed the court theatre.

The Villa del Ferlaro was built by Duchess Maria Luisa of Austria on a pre-existing building, the Casinetto Fedolfi, to use it as a summer residence for her children. The architect Paolo Gazola, in charge of the works, made several extensions based on schemes from Palladio.
It is located a short distance from the Casino dei Boschi and is surrounded by an English park full of exotic plants and centuries-old conifers.