The Salse di Nirano Nature Reserve lies partly in the municipality of Maranello and partly in that of Fiorano Modenese.
It is the Emilia Romagna Region’s largest complex of “salse”, or volcanic mud springs.
The miniature volcanoes that lie across this arid, largely clay landscape create an almost lunar impression. The cold, salty mud flows from small conical volcanoes with little craters, inside which subterranean gases and tarry substances bubble up, creating the distinctive mud “flows”. This is due to the presence, deep underground, of hydrocarbon deposits created by the anaerobic decomposition of organic animal remains. These emerge on the surface due to the pressure of underground gases, which rise up through deep cracks in the terrain.
There is even a Modena dialect term, “Barboj”, for the ceaseless bubbling sound of these little volcanoes.
The landscape of sparse woodland and clay cliffs is home to various plant and animal species that have adapted perfectly to the dry, highly saline ground.
The Cà Tassi Visitors’ Centre within the Reserve welcomes visitors, provides information about the area, and organises guided tours and educational programs. It houses the natural history museum and the natural history library and archive.
More information is available at https://www.fioranoturismo.it/it/natura/salse-di-nirano