Where to do Forest Bathing in Italy and Tuscany
Forest Bathing or Shinrin-Yoku is a wellbeing practice that was developed in 1982 in Japan by M. Tomohide Akiyama who at the time was the Director of the Japanese National Parks Authority. He referred mainly to the practice of being plunged with the entire five senses in nature rather than a real bath. It has become an official preventive care and healing practice in Japan. It has been proven scientifically and empirically by a number of research studies across the world that connecting deeply the senses with nature can restore our health, our mood and our relationships. The scent of the trees, of the trunks and the moterpenes positively influence our immune system.
The vision and practices of Forest Bathing are rapidly developing around the world and it is expected that they will become very popular in the following years as an urgent reply and need for individuals that live in urban and industrialized contexts to reconnect with their origins. In Japan there are 63 official forest bathing stations, but what about Italy?
Forest bathing in the Zegna Oasis
It’s a natural park in Piedmont situated in the Province of Biella in the Alta Valsessera, A specific study on the vegetation of this area has demonstrated scientifically that the beech woods of the Oasi Zegna have a high degree of releasing montorpenes. From this study, 3 different trails were created with the objective of Forest Bathing, a unique experience in Europe for its genre and size, which opened to the public in June 2015.
It’s sufficient to follow freely the three mentioned trails, by stopping or walking in the woods, enjoying consciously the natural beauties, listening and observing the surrounding spaces. The best period of the year to visit this oasis is from June to September (period of maximum blossoming of the beeches). To benefit at the most of the experience, it is recommended to spend at least 4 hours in the woods and to walk minimum 5 kilometres.
Forest bathing in the Maremma Park
It was the first National Park created in Tuscany in 1975 and in 1992 it received a European Diploma for Protected Areas, a prestigious recognition that has been granted only to protected areas that absolve a fundament role in maintaining and protecting biodiversity.
You can clearly identify the presence of different ecosystems in its interior, however the area dedicated specifically to the Forest Bathing is the part covered by forests which covers an area of 3000 kilometres and is made mainly of holm oaks and Mediterranean maquis.
The most suitable path for Forest Bathing is the stretch that goes from Alberese to the Abbey of Saint Rabano and the beach of Collelungo. It covers a distance of approximately 13km and you can encounter different botanical species such as the holm oaks, cork trees, pines that have a high potential of releasing monoterpenes.
Forest bathing in the National Park of Casentino Forests
It is a protected area established in 1993 and situated in the Apennines that separate Emilia Romagna from Tuscany.
Within the Park there are number of paths that are suitable for Forest Bathing but the one that we recommend is the one in the forest of white spruces of Camaldoli. You can follow the trail that goes from the Monastery to the Hermitage of Camaldoli and back which covers a distance of approximately 8 km and where the nature presents itself with an incredible biodiversity: maples, lindens, beeches and spruces.
The majestic presence of white spruces in the area, even if scientifically is proven they only determine a low potential of monoterpene release due to its consistent volume of leaves, contribute to ensure on the other hand, that the Forest Bathing in this area is extremely powerful and beneficial.