The Dormelletto Reed Bed Special Nature Reserve extends for 157 hectares (5 km long) in the area from Arona to Castelletto Ticino, on the south-west coast of Lake Maggiore. Together with the Fondotoce Nature Reserve, it is the largest area with spontaneous vegetation on the Piedmont shore of Lake Maggiore.
The park was established by the Region of Piedmont in agreement with the city and the Ente di Gestione dei Parchi del Lago Maggiore (park board), in order to preserve this marvellous and unique natural environment.
The Special Nature Reserve is densely populated with the Common reed, a plant with a particular aspect and therefore easy to recognise. It’s 3-4 metres high and has a rigid stalk covered with little leaves and culminating with an inflorescence called a panicle.
The importance of the reed environment is attributed to its fundamental ecological function: water retention and purification and balanced absorption of the more or less harmful substances introduced into the body of water. As a whole, the reed environment and surrounding wooded area are fundamental for the creation of the ideal habitat so the numerous bird species can nest and winter here.
The Dormelletto Reed Bed Reserve is also fundamental for its various fish species. In fact, it is the ideal environment for their reproduction. For example, pike and carp lay their eggs in the reeds, which then provide refuge and food for the newborn fish. 15 of the 25 species in the lake are connected with the reed bed in one way or another.
Another particular association is with the bird species. Many birds come here to nest, others stop here during migration and others again stay here year-round. Over 100 different species have been sighted here!