That portion of woodland that still today is the Pine Forest of Classe owes its existence to the Camaldolese monks. Until the year 1000 the monastic community preserved the pine forest in order to safeguard the profitable incomes of the the pine nut business.
The beautiful Pine Forest of Classe is today a property of the Municipality of Ravenna. Furthermore, it is considered a historical institution, so much so that its tree — the stone pine — is depicted in the city’s coat of arms.
It is located just south of the city centre, between the towns of Classe and Cervia. The pine forest has preserved 900 hectares of the original woodland, and it is still a precious green lung as well as a nature park with free access. It’s an oasis of peace, with rest and observation areas over the wetlands and its birdlife.
Inside the Pine Forest of Classe, a number of itineraries open all year round depart from the park I° Maggio in Fosso Ghiaia. Along the trail, you will also find the eighteenth-century Casa delle Aie. This historical building was once a dormitory for the seasonal pine nut collectors (the so-called “pinaroli”), and today it has become a popular meeting place.
One of the most fascinating features of the Pine Forest of Classe is undoubtedly its still “wild” appearance. The safeguard of this environment has attracted many bird species, such as nightingales, wood nuthatches, robins, tawny owls, along with a multitude of amphibians and reptiles.
Century-old trees and plants, such as holm oaks, downy oaks, English oaks, white hornbeams grow here, not to mention the dense undergrowth, which offers products often used to prepar local recipes, like asparagus, privet, blackthorn, rowan and medlar. However, the forest’s vegetation alternates with dry meadows and flooded lowlands of brackish or sweet water.
Not far from here, the wild natural and unspoilt oases of Ortazzo and Ortazzino, by the mouth of the river Bevano, await you. Finally, a mention goes to the Visitor Centre “Cubo Magico Bevanella”, which organizes many exursions and guided tour through the pine forest.