Situated in the countryside of Pesche, in the province of Isernia, it was founded by minister’s decree of 20.04.1982. Initially, it covered over 540 ha, but after the minister’s decree of 30.12.1983, it was enlarged as far as 552 ha, almost a half of the whole town territory. Its altitude varies from 640 to 1 139 m on the sea level and its prevalent exposure is South South-West. Orography varies between soft and rough environments, even with vertical cliffs. The former have clayey-schistose or soft and friable calcareous geologic matrix, the latter are constituted by solid, compact calcareous banks visible from the top of the village. Situated in Central-Western Molise, the Reserve borders on the countryside of Isernia and is about 50 km far from Campobasso. Grazing and passing through the system of paths, the visitor will have an overall view. The peculiar geographical position of the countryside of Pesche sweeps the town of Isernia and the valley of Verrino river, Matese and Mainarde mountains and the tops overlooking the ski resort of Roccaraso. In order to underline this characteristic, they are opening-up ancient, upper-level mule tracks again, improving especially their bottom also to allow the access to excursionists and visitors by mountain-bike, besides improving the security and administrative service.
The Reserve shows a peculiar forest coenosis: the topsoil is constituted by vegetable groups of broad-leaves (holm-oaks, Turkey oaks, roverellas, hornbeams, ashes, maples, beeches, etc.) that cover all the Reserve and by resinous plants like black and stone-pines, covering about 70 ha of the Western protected area, but completely absent in the backlands of High Molise. This pine wood is one of the best exemplars of protective forestation carried out by privates (today it belongs to the Commune that received it as donation). The bushy species include above all eglantines, junipers, brooms and laburnums. From the end of May to the beginning of June, the amazing living yellow of flourishing brooms prevails. The reserve soils change in extraordinary ways; so, within a few square metres, a multitude of species of plants coexist with different needs and characteristics. All the reserve has still to be discovered. According to a few studies (by Mr. C. Blasi), the reserve is a link between Mediterranean bioclimatic and temperate region. There are no many floristic elements in the Mediterranean region of Molise. Pesche is an exception for the medium-low part as shows typical submontane and montane vegetation with coenosis suitable for a climate with long winter-cold periods.
It is variously constituted by birds (thrushes, blackbirds, ring-doves, jackdaws, Greek partridges, crows, quails and also raptors like buzzards, wind fanners, owls, barn owls, owlets, etc.); mammals (hares, foxes, passing wild boars, squirrels, weasels, badgers, urchins, sighted wolves, etc.); reptiles (grass snakes, vipers). Among insects there are many butterflies that often cause the defoliation of black pines, like the Pine Procession Moth. The presence of an amphibian, the newt (Molge vulgaris), is typical in the sources of “Fonte Mauri”.
The reserve was the first R.N.O. founded in Italy on State Town Territories (about 268 ha), as property of Ecclesiastics (about 11) and private citizens (about 273 ha). The proximity to the village of Pesche is another peculiarity of the Reserve. Human traces can be found everywhere in the Reserve: actually, there are still evident traces of the intense private land pulverization, ancient refuges, heaps of stones, etc, even if man has been stopped in exploiting mountain for much time. Pesche and its reserve can turn into a centre for study and research, not only aimed to know the dynamics of natural vegetable and animal peopling, but also history and social-economic development of local human community.
Another unique case is the Tourist Centre which is going to be created in the village and entered the Club of “The most beautiful Villages of Italy”.
The State Forester – Management ex A.S.E.D. – Administration Office of Isernia (Via Bellini 8 – tel. 0865 3935 – fax 413491) together with the personnel of Forester’s Headquarters of Montedimezzo-Vastogirardi (IS) (tel. 0865 940134) are committed to ensure security.