The Paper mill Valley

The Paper mill Valley with its river Toscolano cutting through its steep rock faces, has got an ancient history of papermaking, dating back to 1381. Today is a unique place where history and nature weave together to give visitors a fascinating experience. The intense production of paper has left indelible remains, nestled in a peculiar vegetation: Mediterranean plants such as laurels, cypresses, holm oaks as well as downy oaks, ash trees and hornbeams typical of low-altitude Alpine woodlands grow together with alders and willows found primarily on moist soils. The steep rocks are rich in plants unusually living side by side: Butterwort (Pinguicola Vulgaris) a tiny carnivorous plant with white dainty petals growing in humid conditions close to vertical dripping rock walls, and Maidenhair fern (Adiantum Capillus Veneris) a highly delicate fern normally spotted near  shady and moist sites. About geological formations in the Valley, the “scaglia lombarda” was formed 110 billions of years ago. It is a sedimentary reddish or greyish soft rock presenting a typical scaly aspect due to Alpine orogeny, clearly visible where steep slopes prevent the vegetation from growing. In the Valley are possible to find glacial erratic rocks (from the Latin word “errare” to wander), silent witnesses of the glaciation that once formed the basin of Lake Garda. They were carried by glaciers, often over distances of hundreds of kilometres and here left when the ice melted and the glaciers retreated. Their aspect is completely different from that of the surrounding rocks. The erosion of the Valley sides because of the river, caused the boulders to fall down to the riverbed. Some of them are still provided with visible quadrangular holes made by men when building barrages to convey water and govern the machines and their motion. In 2008 the Paper Mill Valley thanks to its unique wildlife features, historical and archaeological value and its cultural heritage had been awarded the definition of “Ecomuseo” (an open-air museum) by the government authority of Lombardy region.