The Paradisino Didactic Center (43°43'58''N, 11°33'36''E) is located in the Vallombrosa State Forest (1000 m a.s.l.) on a rocky outcrop on the road leading from the Vallombrosa Abbey to Mount Secchieta (see Google Map). The name “Paradisino” probably originated from verses mentioning Vallombrosa in the epic poem Paradise lost written by John Milton in 1667:
Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks
In Vallombrosa, where the Etrurian shades,
High overarched, embower.
A stone plaque is set above the entrance of the building to remember John Milton’s (supposed) visit to Vallombrosa in 1638.
Forestry professors in front of the Vallombrosa Abbey in 1903
The Paradisino is used by students and teachers of the Forestry courses of the University of Florence; it is also available for seminars and meetings organized by the University of Florence and by the State Forest Service. Upon specific request the Paradisino can be used for training courses, stages and other activities on agricultural, forestry and environmental subjects, organized by Associations and groups.
During the summer months the Paradisino Didactic Center hosts field courses and activities of the bachelor and master degrees in Forestry of the University of Florence. During the field courses students put in practice what they have learned in the classroom on botany, soil science, ecology, silviculture, forest mensuration, forest management and conservation, forest inventory, forest pathology and enthomology, forest operations.
The Didactic Center has 18 double rooms and 10 triple rooms and can host a total of 66 students. It has central heating, communal bathrooms (with showers and hot water). Wool bed covers are available but students must bring sleeping bags and towels. On the ground floor there are 2 large classrooms (one equipped with projector and Pc) and a fully equipped kitchen and dining hall. WIFI connection is available inside the Center. Students staying at the Paradisino must abide to specific rules of conduct.