The Arboreti di Vallombrosa
(about 12 hectares) are seven arboreta
located within the Forest Demaniale Vallombrosa near the historic Vallombrosa Abbey
founded in 1036 by St. John Gualbert
of Visdomini, heavenly patron of the Foresters of Italy. They are located in Vallombrosa, Reggello
, Province of Florence
, operated by the Istituto Sperimentale per la Selvicoltura, and open daily upon prior request.
The arboreta date back to 1869 at another location, or to 1884 in the current location, when 230 plants were transferred in a move of the Regio Istituto Superiore Forestale's headquarters within the Vallombrosa forest. New sections were added in 1885-1886, and in 1891 a botanical garden was created; unfortunately it was abandoned in 1914 and nothing remains today but a tub. In 1894 another section was added on the Masso del Diablo to provide a suitable environment for Mediterranean species. Severe bombing during World War II badly damaged the arboreta, but they have since recovered.
Today the arboreta currently contain more than 5,000 specimens belonging to more than 1200 species of trees and shrubs, representing 137 genera, and claim to be Italy's most important collection of plants cultivated for scientific and experimental purposes. They encompass seven distinct arboreta organized into 50 sections. The arboreta are as follows:
- Arboreto "di Bérenger" (1869, area 1.32 hectares)
- Arboreto "Siemoni" (1880, area 0.34 hectares)
- Arboreto "Tozzi" (1886, area 3.00 hectares)
- Arboreto "Gellini" (1894, 3 hectares), on the Masso del Diablo
- Arboreto "Perona" (1914, area 0.97 hectares)
- Arboreto "Pavari" (1923-1958, area 2.10 hectares)
- Arboreto "Allegri" (1976, 1 hectare)
- Arboreti di Vallombrosa
- Cultura Toscana article
- Storiae Cultura article
- Bernabei G., Gellini R., Gius G., Grossoni P., Rinallo C., Tocci A., "L'arboreto di Masso del Diavolo a Vallombrosa", Annali Ist. Sper. di Selvicoltura, 11: 165-190, 1980.
- Piccioli L., "Gli Arboreti Sperimentali di Vallombrosa", Tip. Ricci, Firenze, 1917.