(+39) 351 70 60 636 [email protected]

Hike by train in a stunning UNESCO Beech Forest near Rome – Parco Regionale di Bracciano – Martignano

Hello outdoor lovers!

Did you know that there is a UNESCO-heritage forest about 1.5 hours outside of Rome, that has sparked the interest of scientists from various Universities and National Geographic? That’s right! I’m talking about the Beech Forest in Oriolo Romano (aka "Faggeta di Monte Raschio"). Since July 7th, 2017 it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I was surprised to find out that many locals didn’t even know about it, so I guess this really makes this hiking trail one of the best kept "secrets" for hikers at the moment.

UNESCO Beech Forest in Oriolo

Monte Raschio (the mount that emerges in the beech forest) is located in the Bracciano-Martignano Regional Natural Park. The forest covers approximately 80 hectares and is characterized by a mix of beech trees, oaks, hornbeam and other trees. It is a significant site for the survival of beech forests at low altitudes in a Mediterranean environment, thanks to the local communities’ efforts and the favorable biogeochemical cycle in the area and home to a variety of wildlife. The trail head is not too far from the train station and overall, the trail is suited for almost everyone in terms of length and elevation gain, but if you venture out by yourself, you should have some orienteering skills and basic fitness to make sure you don’t get lost in the woods or run out of fuel along the way.

hiking monte raschio unesco beech forest oriolo romano nature hike 1
The beginning of our journey through this forest

What can you expect?

Overall, this hike is pleasant and easy. Walking up to Monte Raschio you can expect to explore a unique "depressed" beech forest, characterized by ancient trees with impressive dimensions. There are many other interesting trees, plant life and animals to observe. The herb layer of the forest transforms into a colorful sea of flowers during springtime, offering a stunning sight. Additionally, the forest provides habitat for various animals, including the protected species Rosalia Longicorn beetle and the wolf. You can make the entire loop within 3 hours, pacing yourself and taking some breaks along the way, but having a map with you is a good idea. You can also turn this into a very long hike by venturing east, however then it quickly becomes a hike for experts – and you should bring a map, compass and orienteering skills if you never hiked here before. Even on an easy hike, it’s easy to get distracted in a forest, especially when everything is blooming and there aren’t many points of reference around.


  • Ancient beech forest surviving on a volcanic cone plateau
  • A rejuvenating and atmospheric walk
  • High quality oxygen
  • High-density stands of beech trees with imposing dimensions
  • Sea of flowers in the herb layer during spring
  • Easy access with public transport
hiking monte raschio unesco beech forest oriolo romano nature hike horse 1
Mr. Ed and his pals welcome you at the forest “entrance”

Tech specs

  • Official difficulty scale: E
  • Best period to visit: Generally all year round
  • My difficulty assessment: Easy (But may not be suited for complete hiking beginners and if you don’t have a good sense of orientation)
  • Elevation gain: 210m
  • Elevation loss: 210m
  • Type: Loop
  • Length: 8km
  • Time: Approximately 2 – 3 hours
  • Trail quality: Easy to walk on, some parts might be a bit muddy during rain, hiking boots are a good idea with every weather

Some things to be aware of

⚠️🍂 In Autumn/Winter it can get really cold, make sure to bring enough layers to stay warm

⚠️🧭 It’s easy to lose orientation in a forest, no matter how much hiking experience you have. Some orienteering skills and bringing a map + compass is a good idea. Orienteering is a bit easier in autumn when many trees lose their leaves, due to the fact that you can use objects on the horizon at points of reference. During spring time not so much.

⚠️🐴🐗 You might bump into free-roaming horses or wild boar along the way.

🪬 Remember, this is a protected area, protected by law. Do not pick any flowers, or leave any garbage behind and stay on the main trail.

hiking monte raschio unesco beech tree 1
This tree has seen it all!

How to get there

By car

The exact direction will depend on where in Rome you’ll start your journey, but chances are that you’ll first have to get onto the highway (Grande Racordo Anulare) circling around Rome, to make it first onto one of the main roads in Northern Lazio (Via Cassia), switching onto Via Braccianese Claudia once you are in La Giustiniana. Drive until Bracciano, another charming town next to Lake Bracciano. From here, follow signs to Manziana/Oriolo. There is parking available right at the train station, but there are several other parking areas and opportunities to park your car closer to the forest (remember: parking lots with blue stripes on the ground usually mean it’s paid parking, white stripes on the ground usually mean it’s free parking). One good parking spot is in Piazza Principe Amedeo

By public transport

Like many trails in the Viterbo area, this experience is easily accessible by train from Rome. Trains are frequent and take about 1h 18 minutes (from Ostiense station), with fewer trains on Sundays. Most trains to Oriolo (that’s the name of the station, even though it’s referred to as Oriolo Romano, in order not to confuse it with the other Oriolo in Calabria) will depart from Ostiense. That means that if you come from Termini or Tiburtina, you will need to switch over there, however in this case it probably is more convenient to switch trains at Trastevere station. Make sure to check the available departure times and connections on https://www.trenitalia.com.


Ok, so if you arrived at the train station, note that the first thing you should do is – wait. Because like many train stations around here this one is so tiny, there is no way to cross the train tracks (yes, it’s one of those few times where you are legally allowed to cross the train tracks; actually it’s the only way) if the train is still standing. So wait a few minutes until the train leaves the station, double check that no other train is arriving and off you go!

hiking monte raschio unesco beech forest oriolo romano nature hike trail 1
Some more trail views

Getting to the trail head

Directly outside of the train station you’ll notice a CONAD on the other side of the street. If you need to get a coffee, forget to bring water and some food – they have it all, including a coffee bar with a surprising selection of pastries. Also, there is a public bathroom on the premises. If, instead, you want to get going right away or try some local bars, head left until you get to Piazzale Claudia. From here, next to the Church head North-West on Via Borgo Garibaldi and follow the road, which will eventually become Vicolo S. Rocco and bring you to the parking area in the forest (if you arrive by car, you may also choose to park here but be aware that free-roaming horses will share the space with your car).

hiking monte raschio unesco beech forest oriolo romano nature people 1
Into the woods

Entering the forest

At the fork, it’s really up to you if you proceed for the left path or the right path, as we’re going in a loop. Following the path on the left first (North-East) has the advantage, that we’ll cross the more difficult part, especially when wet (an old countryside road, possibly of more ancient origins) right in the beginning and then you don’t have to worry about it going forward. As we follow the trail, make sure you always stay on the right at the following forks, and follow the red-white trail signs. At some point we’ll come through little trail that looks like it’s been washed out by the water, until we reach a bigger crossing, with a sign indicating "Cava" to the left.

hiking monte raschio unesco beech forest oriolo romano nature lichens 1
This is a little organism living in a forest full of stories!

The Cave

We now walk a bit next to the forest (North-West), with the open field on our left side, the the forest to our right. At some point a trail will lead back into the forest on the right, and we’ll find ourselves in a stretch with artificially planted conifers, before making it to a huge stone wall of volcanic origin (hidden away on the right side of the path, you’ll need to briefly deviate from the path to see it), possibly used to extract the material in ancient times.

Monte Raschio

Upon returning on the main path, continue until you reach the end of this stretch, and take a right turn (North) which will start leading us up towards Monte Raschio. At some point, we’ll come by a little shelter, and shortly after we’ll arrive at the highest point of this mount, with some information material about this Unesco site. We are now in the thick of the beech forest, and going forward, the scenery definitely changes and has an almost fairy-tale like quality.

The return

Generally, keep the right and follow the main trail (marked white and red), to complete the loop and return to the big crossing we had stopped by at before (you might not even recognize it, as you’ll be standing on another viewpoint). Here, being able to orienteer yourself and being able to follow a map come in handy. Shortly after the crossing, make your way all the way up and take a left (East). The trail should take a right turn (heading South) and you should notice a little valley with a reddish color on your left side. From here on out you’ll basically keep moving in direction South-West, until we reach a little picnic area, and shortly after the parking area next to the forest we had seen in the beginning.

From here, it should be a breeze to return into town, where you might choose to take a coffee, explore a bit more, or return with the next train.

Want to get more out of this hiking experience?

Join our next guided hikes:

Latest posts...


Submit a Comment