Furlo Gorge Nature Reserve covers an area of 3.626,94 hectares of protected land. It was established in 2004. The towns included in the reserve are: Acqualagna, Cagli, Fermignano, Fossombrone, Urbino.
The name "Furlo" derives from the Latin "forulum" ("small hole"), then popularized in Forlo and finally in Furlo. For many centuries it was a strategically important trade route along the Via Flaminia linking Rome to Rimini. In the rock inside the Gorge the Romans have hewn two tunnels by hand through the hard rock, at the point where the transit was more problematic. The work, a remarkable feat of Roman civil engineering where chisel marks in the rock can still be seen, was ordered by Emperor Vespasian in 76 AD. The great gallery is still open to pedestrian and vehicular traffic and the small gallery which is visible from the street, but to which access is possible with a guided tour only, is dated back to the first half of the first century A.D.
Sponges, Foraminifera, and Brachiopods, especially ammonites are widespread all over the area. The vegetation is varied: there are holm oaks , oaks and pastures . The sheer limestone crags of the Furlo Gorge are home for the golden eagle, the lanner, the sparrow hawk and the harrier.
In this beautiful limestone gorge, carved deeply by river Candigliano, the landscape and morphology allow us to reconstruct the geological history of more than 200 million years ago. In the rock formations of Jurassic and Cretaceous eras there are several types of fossils, the most abundant of which are the remains of a group of animals now extinct, distinguishable in four broad groupings: Phylloceratina, Lytoceratina, Ammonitina and Ancyloeratina.
The vegetation in rocky and semi rocky environments consists mainly of holms, oak woods and vast orno-ostrieti, a beech forest with a rich mesophilic flora and the prairies.The flora is though particularly rich inside the gorge, with very rare and interesting species.
The fauna includes a large number of species of natural interest. Birds of prey are especially numerous: golden eagles, peregrine falcons, kestrels, honey buzzards, the most common buzzards and the minor harriers. The Apennine wolf, fallow deer, wild boars, deer, reptiles and many other animals enrich this wonderful corner of the world.
The Candigliano river forms an ideal environment for shorebirds such as grey herons, egrets and night herons, cormorants and the colorful kingfisher.
Among the fish fauna, to be mentioned are carp, chub, barbel and bleaks; among the crustaceans is the river crab.
The Reserve offers many organized tourist services such as: walks in the Furlo Gorge; audio guides and a charter of naturalistic sites; birdwatching; free educational visits for school groups; hiking and trekking with various difficulty levels. An added value is provided by the project of tourist-recreational and socio-educational-cognitive-sensory initiative called " Boscodi Pan" (Pan's Wood), that's to say going for walks where the suggestions of places evoke thoughts, sensations and unforgettable emotions, this all in a natural environment and in a context of integration.
Well worth a visit is the small romanesque Abbey of San Vincenzo, on the Acqualagna side of the gorge.