The reserve is in a majestic corner of the Apennines, in the wildest part of the province of Rieti. The Lazio side of the Velino massif, contains the most spectacular physical features. Foremost among them is the Muro Lungo, one of the most impressive rock walls of the peninsular ridge which faces the vallone di Teve. The lago della Duchessa is of glacial origin, and is located at an altitude of almost 1800 m. .
Adjacent to the Abruzzo parco regionale del
Silente-Velino, the reserve contains
a rich succession of natural habits, abandoned agricultural fields, the oak and
manna ash forests, the beech forests, the cliffs, the breccia slopes and the
summit habitat. Many of the plant species are rare or in danger, among them the
orchids and rockfoils, sedges and milkvetches.
The fauna is also of great interest. Raptors include the eagle, the griffon vulture, and the northern goshawks. Wolves, red deer, roe deer, and the occasional bear visit the forests and the valleys. Under the high altitude bushes lives the rare field adder.
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