Located south of Ravenna, in the area between Classe and Cervia, the PINE FOREST OF CLASSE is one of the largest free-access green lungs and natural reserves of the Adriatic Coast, and is also part of the Po Delta Park.
The pine forest owes its existence to the Camaldolese monks, who stayed in the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe. Since the year 1000 the monastic community preserved the pine forest in order to safeguard the profitable incomes of the pine nut business.
The beautiful Pine Forest of Classe is today a property of the Municipality of Ravenna, and is considered a historical institution, so much so that its tree — the stone pine — is depicted in the city’s coat of arms.
WHAT TO SEE
The pine forest is an oasis of peace for visitors and nature lovers, with rest and observation areas over the wetlands and its birdlife that you can reach on foot or by bike.
Century-old trees and plants, such as holm oaks, downy oaks and hornbeams grow here, not to mention the dense undergrowth that offers products often used to prepare local recipes, like asparagus, privet, blackthorn, sorbs and medlar.
However, the vegetation of the forest alternates with dry meadows and flooded lowlands of brackish or sweet water – like the oases of Ortazzo and Ortazzino next to the Bevano river mouth.
One of the most fascinating features of the Pine Forest of Classe is undoubtedly its still “wild” appearance. The safeguard of this environment, linked to the Po Delta Park, has attracted many bird species, such as nightingales, wood nuthatches, robins, tawny owls, along with a multitude of amphibians and reptiles.
HOW TO VISIT IT
The best way to visit the Pine Forest of Classe is on foot or by bike – especially MBT ones, considering the dirt paths. There are also many equestrian trails that are open all year round and allow visitors to access the most precious natural areas.
Inside the pine forest, there are various itineraries departing from the I° Maggio Park in Fosso Ghiaia. Along the trail, you will also find the 18th-century Casa delle Aie, a historical building that was once a dormitory for the seasonal pine nut collectors (the so-called “pinaroli”), today a popular meeting place.
Finally, a mention goes to the Cubo Magico Bevanella Visitor Centre, access point of the Po Delta Park that organises many exursions and guided tour on foot, by bike and in a canoe through the pine forest and to the oases of Ortazzo and Ortazzino.