Submontane Woods

from the guest house
(photo by: Enrico Vettorazzo)

Hop Hornbeam formations are the most widespread woods in the submontane area, on rather steep, sunny, and relatively dry slopes, up to an altitude of about 1,000m. These woods are dominated by Hop Hornbeam (Ostrya carpinifolia), together with Manna Ash (Fraxinus ornus). Downy Oaks and several shrub species (Cornelian cherry, Laurustinus, Hawthorn) can also be found. These woods, important to maintain the steadiness of the slopes, have been exploited by man as firewood, thanks to the capacity of Hop Hornbeams and Manna Ashes to produce many shoots. Many birds live in this habitat: you can hear the call of the Green Woodpecker, the Hoopoe, the Jay, and, during the night, the Tawny Owl.
A particular and very important environment from a naturalistic point of view is represented by ravine shrubs, that is the vegetation growing in the gorges and in the narrow valleys. Here, besides Hop Hornbeams, there are Yews (Taxus baccata), and some characteristic and showy herbaceous species, like the Yellow Daylily (Hemerocallis lilio-asphodelus), the Lily-leaved Lady Bell (Adenophora lilifolia), and the False Hellebore (Veratrum nigrum). On cooler and deeper soils, the Hop Hornbeam is replaced by more demanding arboreal species such as Maples, Lime trees, European Hornbeams, and Common Ashes. Moreover, the undergrowth is considerably richer.
These are the ideal habitats of many animals, among which the Badger, the Dormouse, the Greater Spotted Woodpecker, and the Nuthatch.