geology
Park Geology

The land surrounding the park is steeped in geological history, dating back to the formation of the embedded walls and ancient bed and the formation of Castro. Such rock, deposited back about 190 MA in a marine platform environment, looks chaotic and shows almost no sign of stratification. In more recent times, this same rock formation has been altered, as evidenced by the many traces of overlapping events, formative at first and then shaping due to the flow of rivers, karst development, and glacial actions. The gorge rock has undergone a long erosion process that has resulted in a narrow and stunning opening where traces of the progressive lowering of the river bottom and the heady swirl of waters are very visible. On more than one level, one can see circular shapes called potholes, which are caused by erosion as the fast flowing water swirls, carrying fragments of stones and pebbles which grind down the rock to form the pothole structures.

The limestone rocks show signs of karst especially along fractures and faults, while the chemical deposition of calcium carbonate had created wide and interesting travertine formations along the walls.

Important water circuits end their flow near two sources located within the park limits. Over a period of time between 2 million and 10 thousand years ago, the glacial action worked on this portion of the territory. Outstanding ice thicknesses have occupied the gorge over time.

Finally, through the canyon of the Tinazzo, water carried the debris that deposited in the basin of the Borlezza when the water reached the lake, forming the delta on which the metallurgical factory was built .

Fauna
Park Fauna

While not especially extensive over a large area, the park offers several different environments that represent many settlement opportunities for the fauna, which is very different. Here, one can find the typical inhabitants of the Pre-Alps such as the fox, the Beech Marten, the yew, the squirrel, the dormouse, the hare, the roe deer, the Eurasian jay, the pheasant and many passeriformes. The areas with its terraced lawns, many of which are used as olive groves with its favourable exposure to the south, have dry stone walls and overhanging cliffs that are home for several species of reptiles, birds and butterflies.

The ravine woods, which precede the fossil gorge of the Tinazzo, is a habitat that has a high humidity and a climate that in summer time is cooler than the surrounding area, while in winter is actually quite mild. There is a small stream here that comes from several sources. In this stream one can find the cray fish, a freshwater crustacean which has more or less disappeared from most of the European streams, threatened with extinction due to the environmental and water pollution, diseases and the competition of exotic species introduced by man. Streams, small brooks and ponds are also the ideal habitat for the fire salamander, which needs them for the development of their larvae. After metamorphosis and the developing of the yellow and black pattern they will abandon them and go back to living in the thick of the woods.

vegetation
Park Vegetation

While dominated by the amazing geomorphological landscape of the gorge, the small territory of the park, because of its complex morphology, the local climate, and the nature of its rock presents a stunning display of floral and vegetation interest.

The woods, in its complex composition of tree species (in which the Hop Hornbeam, Ostrya carpinifolia, ispredominant) and shrubby and herbaceous species, show some of the typical aspects of the ravine woods near the gorge where its darkness, the coolness, and humidity of the environment has favored a spontaneous settlement of yew (taxus baccata). Spectacular is the development of the Eurasian fern (Phyllitis scolopendrium), which covers the slopes of the woods. On the limestone cliff the sky blue bellflower (campanula elatinoides) stands out, rare and precious in this hidden place, with its beautiful heart-shaped and velvety leaves. On the margins of a perennial stream the horsetail states its unmistakable presence with two species: the field horsetail (equisetum avense) and the rough horsetail (equisetum hyemale). It isn’t strange to have such biodiversity of plants with botanic entities such as the black locusts, Ailanthus, privets and even some palms of the Trachycarpus family, that are linked to a more or less anthropization which differs according to the park surface. Near the gorge, terraced shelves host old hay meadows, which in the past showed more multicolored blossoms. Even the bare rock walls are colonized by vegetation such as the light blue bell flower (campanula carnica), the queen grass (telechia speciosissima) similar to a huge yellow daisy, and the Horned Rampion (Phyteuma scheuchzert). The other parts of the park, exposed to the sun, host a sparse and low scrub dominated by the hop hornbeam, ashes (Fraxinus ornus ) and some English oaks (Quercus pubescens).

The doors left by the coverage of the woods have been colonized by the flora of dry grasslands where the sesleria, the most common graminaceous, is accompanied by several Mediterranean and steppe range species.

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Park Entrance

 

A portal, made up of two heavy wooden doors, allows entrance to a path which leads up to the gorge of the Tinazzo. Passing through the woods, thanks to this easy access, one encounters a rock wall that seems to block the way. But on getting closer one will see a very high cleft in the rock. From here, over the centuries, hundreds of millions of cubic meters of sand and rock were carried down to the lake by the heady swirling  water of the River Borlezza. The deposition of this huge amount of debris allowed the formation of the peninsula on which the large factory of Lucchini RS was built.

A path was built in a territory that has experienced a millennia of endless battles between water and rock, shaped by ancestral glaciations and eroded by the flow of rushing waters of the river Borlezza. Two huge walls, higher than 40 meters, stand as wings at the entrance of the gorge which can be safely visited for more than 100 meters having a width which varies from 1 to 4 meters.

“And there they were, from the clefts of the cliffs in some long grasses, pushing their heads up towards the light, just lying there dead and dangling. Mosses and lichens clinging here and there and ivy trunks rising up, forged to the rock, unfolding a lush fan of green on the harboring walls lit by the sun.

And further up , old falling trunks and smattering of green vegetation dangling on the abyss and clusters threatened by the frost, ready to fall on the unlucky visitor…”

 Taken from the book   La gola del Tinazzo, written by Don Amighetti in 1897