To regenerate the body and mind through contact with nature: this is forest bathing, a practice that consists of walking along the woods and enjoying the benefits of plants and trees away from daily stress; and in Italy, trails where to do it are growing.
There is no better time than International Forest Day, which falls on March 21, since 2012.
This activity originated in Japan during the 1980s and over time has spread all over the world. We have seen how several studies show that walking in forests leads to huge health benefits such as decreased cortisol, less depression and drops in anxiety. The reason? The substances released by the plants, but also the very immersion in a natural environment, the distance from routine and chaos. Let’s discover the best places and trails where to do forest bathing in Italy.
Forest bathing, 5 trails in Italy
To have a unique forest bathing experience, you don’t need to go abroad. In our Italy there is no shortage of places to walk and relax in the midst of nature. From North to South different places offer routes to relax the body and mind. All routes are different from each other, where in addition to walking you can also discover local traditions and visit the main tourist attractions, such as abbeys and monasteries.
So here are the 5 best routes where you can regenerate.
1. Oasi Zegna, Valdilana (Biella).
With its trees and trails, Oasi Zegna is an ideal destination for forest bathing. For walking there are 3 trails: the Strada della Montucia (where you can listen to the sound of the wind creeping through the cracks in the rocks), the Strada della Valdessera (with paths surrounded by greenery) and the Sentiero del Cabarbo (where there is also a Tibetan bridge). These are routes of easy and medium difficulty.
2. Aurina Valley, Bolzano (Trentino)
Because of its variety of routes, the Ahrn Valley can provide an unparalleled full-immersion experience in nature. Starting from the Rio Bianco forest, you can take interesting forest bathing routes where, in addition to hiking, you learn to recognize herbs such as dandelion, yarrow, and wild thyme. Between May and October, it is possible to do hydrotherapy at waterways or facilities in the area.
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3. Casentino Forests, Arezzo (Tuscany)
Biodiversity, tradition and history. Walking along the trails in the Casentino Forests is healthy for both the body and the spirit. Walking through the Park of the White Firs of Camaldoli (about 8 km long), you can admire colorful maples, majestic linden trees and precisely white firs, until you reach the Monastery. The itinerary “The Trail of Sacred Forests,” includes stages divided into seven days where you can visit the most striking places in the Forest.
4. Maremma Park, Grosseto (Tuscany)
Also in Tuscany, a place suitable for forest bathing is the Maremma Park. Sea, marshes, caves: in both summer and winter, there is no shortage of routes to disconnect from the daily routine and relax in the midst of nature. For a medium itinerary, you can walk along the paths of the Uccellina Forest lined with holm oaks that lead to the beach. The Alberese one is longer, where walking among holm oak and cork trees you can reach the Abbey of San Rabano.
5. Mab Reserve (Molise)
Far from the city chaos, Molise has a reserve that covers 7 municipalities. It is MAB (Unesco Man And Biosphere reserve), with a wide variety of flora such as field maple, hawthorn and wild plum. An excellent place to practice forest-bathing is the hamlet of Montedimezzo, in the province of Isernia, where the waters of the Trigno River and the Salcitaro stream make for an enchanting landscape.