Tours - Orto botanico 'Pellegrini - Ansaldi'

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Starting at Easter, the Botanical Garden will be open on weekends and spring holidays in April and May.
Then, it will be open daily from the beginning of June to mid-September.
Openings will be limited to weekends in the second half of September and October, depending on seasonal weather conditions.
Special openings are planned throughout the year, and there is also the possibility of on - demand opening for groups and school classes.

The Botanical Garden is open in the mornings and afternoons,
from 9.30 to 13.00 and from 15.00 to 19.00.
During opening hours, access is free from the entrance gate to the refuge-laboratory.
Visits on the hiking route are exclusively guided and take place at the following times:
 morning 9.30 a.m. - 10.15 a.m. - 11.15 a.m. - 12 p.m.
 afternoon 15.00 p.m. - 15.45 p.m. - 16.45 p.m. - 17.45 p.m.
Information can be requested in the following ways:
 by calling 3488809255 (NO TEXT MESSAGES)
 by writing to
by chatting on the Apuan Alps Botanical Garden Facebook page.
Guided tours leave at set times (see above), either in the morning or in the afternoon. To take part in a guided tour, simply show up at the visitor center at least 5 minutes before any of the departure times.
In high season, additional times are added in case of high attendance.
In the case of large groups (from 8 to 10 people and up), reservations are recommended.
The itinerary is a mountain trail, roughly classifiable as "Grade 2" (Uk) or "Moderate Difficult" (Usa).
It is characterized by a positive elevation gain of 100 meters (328 feet) and has a duration of about 60 minutes.
Although it is not physically demanding, it is not recommended for children under the age of 6, for those with heart problems, for those suffering from fatigue or walking difficulties or dizziness (it has no overhangs or precipices, but in some sections there is a certain slope; there are iron railings and wooden fences helping in potentially exposed passages).
Younger children may be accompanied by their parents if kept in the appropriate hiking backpack:  for safety reasons, it is absolutely forbidden to pick them up along hiking trails.
It is necessary to use footwear suitable for mountain trails: closed shoes with etched rubber soles, without heels or wedges. It is recommended to carry a small personal water supply.
Yes, as long as they are of good temperament and kept on a short leash at all times within the Botanical Garden, as per regulations within protected natural areas.
5€/person, free for under 18s
Located at Pian della Fioba, at an altitude of about 900 m above sea level, the Botanical Garden of the Apuan Alps can be reached from Massa by the panoramic road Massa - San Carlo Terme - Antona - Arni (18 km), or by the 'Via dei Carri', which initially runs alongside the river Frigido, then begins a steep climb, turning right, in the direction of Altagnana.
From Castelnuovo Garfagnana you can reach Pian della Fioba by crossing Isola Santa and Arni (21 km).
From Alta Versilia you can cross Colle del Cipollaio and then follow through Arni in the direction of Massa.
In the summer, from mid-June to mid-September, Pian della Fioba can be reached at weekends by bus 66 departing from Massa railway station.
The 'Città di Massa' refuge is a three-minute walk from the Botanical Garden.
Info and reservations: 3395390067 and 3386493028
There are also other recommended facilities, both towards Massa and the Garfagnana.
Pian della Fioba is at the center of an excursion network of CAI (Italian Alpine Club) paths connecting the Frigido Valley with Monte Altissimo.
These can also be consulted on the  Webmapp Alpi Apuane.
Near the 'Città di Massa' Refuge, you can find two easy and panoramic routes: the Anello della Dolina (Sinkhole hiking route) and the Anello della Maestà.rom Saturday 30 May we are officially back in business at the Botanical Garden with guided tours at set times for small groups.
Like almost everywhere, it is necessary to respect some rules for the good and health of all of us.
We will take care of showing them in plain view at the Botanical Garden entrance and send them in response to whom will ask information.
They are also available in this document at the end of the following FAQ.


1) In which days and times the guided tours take place?
The guided tours will take place every day until the 13th of September for the 2020 season
The meeting place is at the Botanical Garden entrance in the Pian della Fioba square.
It is recommended the utmost punctuality.
During weekdays the tour can be carried out by groups of at least 6 paying people, with day and time to be agreed.
2) How can I ask information and possibly make a reservation for the guided tour?
It is possible to ask information as follows:
-          by calling the 3488809255 (no WhatsApp and text messages)
-          by writing the e-mail address
-          by writing in chat on the Facebook page of the Botanical Garden of the Apuan Alps.
To confirm your reservation, we need to receive preferably in writing by e-mail or text message as follows:
✅ a reference name
✅ indication of the number of participants, specifying how many adults and children;
✅ phone number
3) And if I am ever in Pian della Fioba and I would like to join a guided tour without a reservation?
People can join only and exclusively if there is still availability of places and times.
People who have confirmed the reservation in the 24 hours before the tour will always have priority.
4) How many people can take part in a guided tour?
During the guided tour inside the Botanical Garden, an interpersonal distance of at least 2 meters must be maintained, in a similar way to what is laid down for the sports activities and in accordance to what is laid down in the national legislation.
Taking this into account, due to the type of route and measured the spaces available in the resting places, it is possible to have groups up to the maximum number of:
-          9 people all of them not living together that must maintain between them a distance of at least 2 meters;
-          12 people in the case of families or couples living together because between them they don’t have to maintain the interpersonal distance.
In addition, this number is in line with the protocols approved by the main associations of Italian guides.
5) Do I have to wear the face mask?
Yes, you do.
During the guided tour, though always maintaining the interpersonal distance of 2 meters between people not living together, the face mask:
-          It must always be worn during each stop
-          It can be lowered while walking.

6) Which difficulty presents the route and how long is the tour?
The route of the tour of the Botanical Garden consist of a hiking trail classified of level “H” (hiking) and it lasts about 60 minutes.
Though it is not physically demanding, it is advised against children under the age of 6 years, people with problems of heart, fatigue, difficulty of deambulation or dizziness (there are not cliffs or precipices, but in some places there is a slight slope and in the potentially exposed passages there are iron railings and wooden fences).
Younger children can be accompanied by the parent if kept in the specific hiking backpack.
It is necessary to use appropriate footwear for the mountain routes, closed with engraved rubber sole, without heels or wedges.
It is recommended to take with you a water bottle.
7) Can I take my dog with me?
Yes, you can, as long as he is always kept on his short leash inside the Botanical Garden.
8) How much is the contribution for the guided tour?
For the 2020 season the expected contribution is of 5 euros for the adults, while it is free for people under 18 years old and healthcare workers.
9) How the Botanical Garden can be reached?
The Botanical Garden “Pellegrini-Ansaldi” is located in Pian della Fioba at an elevation of 900 metres and it can be reached from Massa with the scenic route Massa – San Carlo Terme – Antona – Armi (18 km), or through the “via dei marmi”, also from Massa, that initially run along the river Frigido, and then begin a steep climb, turning right towards Altagnana.
From Castelnuovo Garfagnana you arrive to Pian della Fioba through the Isola Santa ed Arni (21 km), or form the Alta Versilia crossing the Colle del Cipollaio and then towards Massa.
It is important to remember that also the nearby Rifugio “Città di Massa” will be open also for meals and overnight stays and also in this case the reservation is recommended.
We get back together to immerse ourselves into the unique nature and landscapes of Apuan Alps.

For further info and explanation, please contact us. The Botanical Garden is open every day from June to mid-September from 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. and from 3.00 p.m. to 7.00 p.m., depending on weather conditions, curated by the Association “Aquilegia Natura e Paesaggio Apuano”. Extraordinary openings for the spring festivities and weekends of May.
In other periods of the year, it is open for groups and schoolchildren by reservation only.

Due to the narrowness and slope of the trails, the tour is recommended in small groups (max 20 people), and it is recommended mountain clothing and footwear.
cell. /WA: +39 348 880 9255
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The Educational proposals

Pian della Fioba is a mountain town of the Municipality of Massa located at about 900 meters of elevation in the heart of the Park of the Apuan Alps: here there are the Botanical Garden “Pellegrini-Ansaldi” and the Rifugio “Città di Massa”. Thanks to the partnership among the associations that run the two facilities, both of property of the Municipality of Massa, it has been possible to organise different educational proposals to immerse schoolchildren into the unique nature and landscapes of the Apuan Alps. All the activities proposed have the aim of rendering students “aware of the great value of the Apuan Alps, of their significant floristic population and the absolute necessity of their preservation, for which it was established the Regional Park of the Apuan Alps”.
These words in quotes are said by Maria Ansaldi, curator of the Botanical Garden until 2013 and founder of the Association “Aquilegia” …  thanks to which her work of preservation of the biodiversity and popular science, especially of the Apuan Alps, continues to be carried on.
The Botanical Garden has been established on 22 July 1966 with the aim of studying and preserving the peculiar apuan flora, making it known to the public by educational and popular activities. It is currently run by the Association Aquilegia with the partnership of the University of Pisa. The Botanical Garden on a small scale is representative of different environments of the Apuan Alps and this reflects on the flora of the place: in fact, there are in a limited and accessible space the most significant plant species of the apuan flora. Moreover, the Botanical Garden is provided with an easier path completed with educational panels that leads to the refuge-laboratory in which there is a multimedia room where it is possible to project audio-visuals, take frontal lessons and observe under the stereomicroscope the details of the plant species met along the tour path.
The Rifugio "Città di Massa" has been built in 1966 by the Massa CAI section and nowadays it is run by the Association “Il Sentiero”. There is the possibility of accommodation for the meals and overnight stay, having about thirty beds (13 rooms with 2-4 beds and a shared bathroom). The ground floor and the first floor are accessible by a lift, and so it is a facility suitable also for people with walking difficulties. The cooking is characterised by the use of local apuan products and pay attention to any intolerances and/or allergies.
Prices agreed upon with the schools
-          Simple lunch (first course, dessert, water) 7€/student
-          Full lunch (first course, second course, dessert, water) 13€/student
-          Packed lunch (two sandwiches, water, apple) 5€/student
-          Half board (dinner, night and breakfast) 37€/student
-          Full board (dinner, night, breakfast and packed lunch) 40€/student
There is a gratuitousness for a teacher-courier every 20 students for the options aforementioned.
A journey to discover the flora of the Apuan Alps
The guided tour at the Botanical Garden takes place along a mountain hiking trail along which it is possible to admire many of the endemic species that are exclusive of these mountains. Once you reach the top, the landscape range from the surrounding mountains to the sea, with a privileged view that gives an idea of how complex is the mosaic of environments and landscapes that characterises the apuan territory; furthermore, the surrounding landscape can be read as an open book and we can understand how several factors (geographical position, elevation, exposure, climate, geology etc.) contribute to increase the plant biodiversity of our mountains. Recommended duration is about 1-2 hours. 3€/student
Before the tour in the Botanical Garden is recommended a preparatory participation in classroom with a PowerPoint presentation and video clips of the Apuan Alps, so that students can become interested and aware of the context in which they will find themselves in Pian della Fioba. Additional charge of 2€/student*
*For the schools of the municipalities of Massa, Carrara and Montignoso; for the other ones, it is to be included a mileage reimbursement according to the ACI tables.
“BOTANICAL APPRENTICES” - Laboratory of plants identification
The educational laboratory, to be held at the end of the guided tour in the Botanical Garden, has the aim of introducing the peculiarities of the woody plants of the Apuan Alps, providing students the basics for the identification and interpretations for the adaptations to the environment in which they live. It is proposed the practical activity of plants identification by using information technologies with “Dryades”, an online application easy to access and to understand. In addition, it is expected by all students the realisation of an herbarium sample with the plant material picked for the identification. 8€/student (inclusive of the guided tour)

“PICKED, COOKED… AND EATEN!” - Laboratory of edible plants
During a brief frontal speech, we will learn which are the food plants that is possible to find at Pian della Fioba. We will agree with the chefs of the Rifugio the menu of the lunch based on the herbs of the moment and we will go to search for them in the surroundings, picking out as required to satisfy the request of the kitchen. After that… we will see the preparation, set up the table and eat together with what we were able to pick up before. 12€/student (inclusive of lunch)

Laboratory of beekeeping
At the end of the guided tour of the Botanical Garden we will have the opportunity to know closely the bees, precious allies for the blooms thanks to their work of pollination. Courtesy of a special educational hive with its transparent side walls and ceiling… we will be able to discover details and curiosities about their life inside the beehive, but not only! There are available a dozen beekeeper’s suits (sizes for adult and child) and with which it is possible to flank our beekeepers in the ordinary practices of managing a hive, and so we can observe bees even more closely and in complete safety. At the end of the activity… a small taste of honey won’t be missing! 8€/student (inclusive of guided tour)
It is a side project of the homonym Extemporaneous Drawing Contest and it is oriented to the schools. Children and young people, accompanied by teachers, can participate at any time of the year in a guided tour devoted to the collection of inspirations that will be transformed in art at school afterwards. The selected works by classes will be shown at the final exhibit of the Drawing Contest that will take place in summer. 5€/student
Antona is one of the prettiest and most characteristic villages of the Massa Apuane. It is located at an elevation of about 400 meters, surrounded by cultivated terracing with olive and chestnut tree, and it is a town with plenty of history and traditions. We will walk among the alleys of the historic centre, that can be visited only on foot, discovering the most hidden corners that tell the historic events of the village. We will visit the Casa Piccianti, residence of the 500’ in which the time seems to have stopped, and then we will be heading towards the edge of the town… to the entrance of the path known with the name of “the freedom way” (and we will discover why). Here, in the still well-maintained chestnut grove, graze the goats of the Farm “Colle d’Antona” and courtesy of the shepherd Filippo we will be able to know more about how they live, what they eat and why the pastoralism in the mountain nowadays is important for the conservation of the biodiversity… a small taste of the delicious goat cheese that here is produced with wisdom won’t be missing. 8€/student
Day trip with GAE for half a day or full day in trails of Apuan Alps
Based on specific requests, on the subjects and timing, there is the possibility of agreeing hiking routes on the trails of the Apuan Alps using one or more GAE – Hiking Naturalistic Guide (with official qualification of the Tuscany Region).
Day trips with botanical-landscape theme
Based on the season, it is possible to propose different hiking routes to go to discover and admire together the most significant species of the Apuan Alps, directly in their natural environment and in the period of full bloom. A classic route, easy to reach and full of biodiversity, with a good and available trail network is that of the area of Campocecina, above Carrara.
Day trips with historical theme
Purpose of this type of day trip is that of promoting routes to know the historical memory of the places of the Gothic Line, discovering the remaining war artifacts and the communication trenches that for many people represented “the ways of freedom” at the time of the Second World War. Among the proposals, there are the trail Antona-Pian della Fioba and the trail Pasquilio-Folgorito.
Day trips “in the surroundings of the Pian della Fioba”
Purpose of this type of day trip is that of promoting the trail network in the area of Pian della Fioba and of the Valle del Frigido, and it is possible to change mountainside and venture into the beech woods of the Monte Altissimo or travel the CAI trail that from Gobbie, nearby Passo del Vestito, get among the woods and old pastures to the Rifugio “Puliti” of Arni, where also there is the possibility of taking a break to eat at an agreed price. These day trips, for the grandeur of the “foliage” of the beech wood, are suitable to be organised also in the autumn period (weather conditions permitting).
70€/class for day trip of half a day
 100€/class for day trip of full day
All the proposed activities are modulated and adapted depending on the class attended by child/young people. The proposed activities can be adapted to the various orders of schools and can be organised also personalised activities based on the educational requests. During day trips and activities all the participants, including couriers and teachers, should have comfortable and sports clothing, backpack with snack and enough water, k-way, any hat and, ESSENTIALS, comfortable walking shoes (from the tennis shoe to the trekking shoe). The best time to do the proposed activities is the spring one, from the beginning of April to June. At the end of the school the same proposals are valid for summer camps, solar camps, CAI groups of youth mountaineering etc. For all the proposed activities there is a gratuitousness every 10 students; always excluded teachers-couriers.
L'ORTO BOTANICO PIETRO PELLEGRINI, Un giardino alpino nel Parco Regionale delle Alpi Apuane
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