The source “Funtanì di Nalmase” is located on the right bank of the Agna stream that flows into the Val Degagna which, from the municipality of Vobarno, goes up to Treviso in Brescia.
The considerable importance of this small reserve is due to the discovery of rare faunal endemisms in the cavity of the Funtanì spring. These are small freshwater molluscs found by the experts of the Italian Society of Malacology which, a few decades ago, promoted an extensive study on the sources of the Alps. Following these researches, the Pezzoli and Toffoletto scholars urged the protection of the site. , in 1971 it was included in the “Map of the Biotopes of Italy”.
In this spring, along with two others located in its vicinity, respectively to the north and south, almost all the freshwater molluscs of the springs, living in Lombardy, are represented. These organisms, which appear to the layman as tiny shells, require very special conditions to live, among which the purity of the water plays a decisive role.
Although the pool of water in question may seem modest to the layman, the naturalists who have examined it have highlighted various micro-environments that differ from each other for the lower or higher speed of the current, for the different temperature, due to the presence of more or less light, due to the presence or absence of decisive plant species, stones, silt or gravel, etc.
These different characteristics determine the establishment of different species of micro-molluscs which are distributed in the pool according to their particular needs.
All the studied species need waters with rather low temperatures and with a certain degree of hardness, which indicates the presence of dissolved mineral salts essential to build their protective shell. What has been illustrated so far highlights the extreme delicacy of this ecological niche and the need to protect the entire catchment area upstream of the Source. For this reason, an extension of the protected area of about 92 ha has been proposed.
From the geological point of view, the Funtanì spring is a fault source that was formed following the fracture of the rocky layers and consists of an underground part about 9 meters long, at the end of which there is a crack of about 10 centimeters from the which comes from the water that feeds it and from an external part represented by the spring cup surrounded by vegetation.
The territory in which the real source is located, although not presenting particular naturalistic emergencies, is however not insignificant. The various plant species that characterize the environment of the hilly area can be found well represented: chestnut, black hornbeam, white hornbeam, downy oak, etc. In the meadows, 600 species of flowers have been recorded, including Dog’s tooth (Erythronium dens canis), some orchids of the genus Ophris, etc.
The preliminary studies for the Management Plan were recently presented to the Province of Brescia, which provides for the establishment of a circular path to give the possibility to visit the area without getting too close to the spring pool which, moreover, is of great interest to scholars but cannot be appreciated by the layman, since its very particular fauna often has Lilliputian dimensions (in the order of a few millimeters).
Along the way, signs could be placed illustrating the internal structure of the source, the various types of molluscs and other animal and plant species that inhabit it and other similar information, to allow visitors to realize the importance of the site and to stimulate respect.
One way to appreciate the area is to explore the surrounding meadows and woods.
Existing trails in the area
The paths are not marked and, as already mentioned, not well maintained, therefore a good ability to read maps is required. Detailed maps such as I.G.M. are essential.
Path n. 1: From the Reserve in Nalmase it reaches the Natalone farmhouse, the ridge of Monte Sercina and ends in Duisina.
Path n. 2: From Vobarno it climbs to the Madonna della Rocca and keeping to the hillside it reaches the Reserve in Nalmase
Path n. 3: From path no. 1, before the Natalone farmhouse, climbs to Monte Cingolo and along the ridge reaches the hamlet of Moglia.
Path n. 4: It begins near the Novaglio locality, runs through the Vennardo Valley, reaches the Fessole barn and then descends, bypassing the Cima Lasdruna, to the Madonna della Neve in the hamlet of Teglie.
Recommended period for visits
Being a hilly area, the best seasons are spring, summer and early autumn