The Reserve is situated within the commune of Quattro Castella, near the small, characteristic village of Monticelli.
The Province of Reggio Emilia inaugurated this wildlife reserve in 1981 and handed over responsibility for its management to LIPU in 1993. Its current area is some 160 hectares. The Reserve includes four particular outcrops on the edge of the Po Plain, immediately behind the village of Quattro Castella.
Characeristics of the Habitat and Environment
The LIPU Reserve at Bianello is a splendid example of the lower Appennine environment in Emilia. It is at an altitude of some 300 metres. There are woods, small meadows, typical Mediterranean scrubland and cultivated areas. There is a wide variety of trees in the woods, and a rich understorey. The combination of different habitats creates ideal conditions for birds, with about 130 species being present permanently, over-wintering or on migration. There are common raptors, such as Buzzards and Kestrels, as well as Sparrowhawks, symbol of the Reserve. The end of winter is the best time to hear nocturnal raptors. Barn Owls, Tawny Owls, Little Owls and Long-eared Owls all make their unmistakable calls to demonstrate their presence and claim their territory, where, in a few weeks, they will begin raising their young.
LIPU Bianello has a visitor centre. There are two nature walks with information panels. There is also a manager with responsibility for environmental management, welcoming and accompanying visitors, research and monitoring. The first path goes through oak woodland and leads to the Castello di Bianello (open to the public), while the second leads to two of the hill masses, Zagno and Lucio. During the course of the year various events are organised: liberating raptors, studying marine fossils, maintenance of bird nest boxes, ringing, study and work camps, outings at night and at dawn to hear birdsong. Close to the reserve and to Monticello it is possible to find a peaceful spot to park a camper van overnight.