Arda valley stretches on the westernmost part of Piacenza province, bordering the Apennine of Parma province. Arda river flows through the valley and covers othes small valleys: Riglio, Vezzeno, Chero, Chiavenna, Ongina and Stirone. Arda river source is 1300 m high at the northwestern foot of Mount Lama, in the Ligurian Apennine, in Morfasso territory. After 15 km, an artificial dam creates Mignano lake, a water basin 2 sq. m. large at 341 m of altitude, serving as water supply and hydroelectric basin. The river flows towards Lugagnano Val d’Arda and Castell’Arquato to reach the plain land at Fiorenzuola d’Arda and Cortemaggiore.
Mount Moria provincial park
Mount Moria Park covers an area of 1000 hectares around the villages of Morfasso and Lugagnano. The provincial park is a natural area created to preserve the woods of this side of the Apennines and offers numerous varieties of trees and plants. Three quarters of the park is covered in woods, with the predominance of centennial chestnut trees with strange and convoluted shapes. Where the trees step back, here come the broom and the juniper splashing the arid land with colour. At Croce dei Segni there is the predominance of beech trees that sloping down leave room for small hornbeams, nut trees, golden chains and honeysuckles. Some areas are oases of evergreen trees such as the Scots pine and small firs. The undergrowth of Mount Moria is well known for its mushrooms and other plants such as the fern, strawberry plants, lilies and beautiful orchids. Mount Moria is treaded by boars, badgers, deers, foxes, squirrels, buzzards, woodpeckers and birds of prey: the latter usually ‘chased’ by birdwatchers.
Piacenziano Natural Geological Reserve
This protected regional zone includes 9 different stations in the areas of Castell’Arquato, Lugagnano Val d’Arda, Gropparello, Vernasca and Carpaneto Piacentino. It is rich in resurfacing sedimentary rocks from 3.5 and 1.8 millions of years ago. The reserve includes chasms, slopes and badlands framing the beautiful valley down below. The flora is composed by the typical Apennine vegetation that varies according to the altitude. Concerning the stations in Castell’Arquato village, there are the badlands of Mount Giovo, Mount Padova, Mount Falcone and Piacenziano mountainous type. The surfacing sedimentary rocks dating back to the period that spans between 5 and 1.6 millions of years ago, geologically known as Placenziano, are the most interesting aspect of this area. Walking around Castell’Arquato village there are still some houses built with the sandstone blocks which enclose fossil mollusks. Close by the village there is an interesting Reserve station, which preserves part of the Arda river bed renowned for its fossils and stone layers.