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Italy’s enchanting forests: Spellbinding images show the beauty of the country’s stunning woodlands throughout the seasons

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Italy is best known for its picture-perfect cities, stunning lakes, incredible mountains and beautiful coastline. But its fairy tale-like forests are just as spellbinding – as these jaw-dropping images show. They were all snapped in enchanting woodland areas across Italy throughout the seasons and entered into the 2019 Experience Forests photo contest run by the Italian branch of the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). More than 350 photos were entered into the competition, which aimed to show the diversity of Italian woodlands, with the winners being chosen by a jury of foresters, photographers and an Instagram vote. Click through to see some of the contest's best entries and be transported to Italy's most magical woodlands...

Italy is best known for its picture-perfect cities, stunning lakes, incredible mountains and beautiful coastline. But its fairy tale-like forests are just as spellbinding – as these jaw-dropping images show. They were all snapped in enchanting woodland areas across Italy throughout the seasons and entered into the 2019 Experience Forests photo contest run by the Italian branch of the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). More than 350 photos were entered into the competition, which aimed to show the diversity of Italian woodlands, with the winners being chosen by a jury of foresters, photographers and an Instagram vote. Click through to see some of the contest’s best entries and be transported to Italy’s most magical woodlands…

Overall winner Sonia Fantini snapped this autumnal image of Lake Bordaglia in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region near the Austrian border. 'Choosing the winning photo was not easy for the jury,' said Ben Gunneberg, PEFC International CEO. 'We chose Sonia’s image as we were not only impressed by the colors and composition, but also the feeling it inspired in all of us. It is a very special image.'

Overall winner Sonia Fantini snapped this autumnal image of Lake Bordaglia in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region near the Austrian border. ‘Choosing the winning photo was not easy for the jury,’ said Ben Gunneberg, PEFC International CEO. ‘We chose Sonia’s image as we were not only impressed by the colors and composition, but also the feeling it inspired in all of us. It is a very special image.’

The village of Santa Maddalena, in the Funes valley in the Dolomites, was captured by Carlo Alberto Conti. The area is popular with hikers and cyclists.

The village of Santa Maddalena, in the Funes valley in the Dolomites, was captured by Carlo Alberto Conti. The area is popular with hikers and cyclists.

Northwest of Pinzolo is the Val di Genova, one of the most beautiful areas of the Alps, known as the valley of the waterfalls. Matteo Rizotti captured one of them along the 16-kilometer (10 mile) Sentiero delle Cascate - the Waterfalls Trail.

Northwest of Pinzolo is the Val di Genova, one of the most beautiful areas of the Alps, known as the valley of the waterfalls. Matteo Rizotti captured one of them along the 16-kilometer (10 mile) Sentiero delle Cascate – the Waterfalls Trail.

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Gambatesa, pictured, is a commune in the Province of Campobasso in the Molise region, located about 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of Campobasso. This beautiful sunset was captured by Daniele Leonardi.

Gambatesa, pictured, is a commune in the Province of Campobasso in the Molise region, located about 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of Campobasso. This beautiful sunset was captured by Daniele Leonardi.

This forest shrouded in mist was shot by Gianni Zanellain Ossana, a commune in the northern Italian region of Trentino, about 40 kilometers (24 miles) northwest of Trento.

This forest shrouded in mist was shot by Gianni Zanellain Ossana, a commune in the northern Italian region of Trentino, about 40 kilometers (24 miles) northwest of Trento.

This artistic shot of Lake Cornino, framed by the Carnic Prealps in the northern Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, was taken by Roberto Roscetti. The area is a nature reserve and home to a large population of griffon vultures.

This artistic shot of Lake Cornino, framed by the Carnic Prealps in the northern Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, was taken by Roberto Roscetti. The area is a nature reserve and home to a large population of griffon vultures.

This colorful scene was captured by Alice Naso in the Anterselva Valley in the northeastern South Tyrol province,  which includes part of the Dolomites range.

This colorful scene was captured by Alice Naso in the Anterselva Valley in the northeastern South Tyrol province,  which includes part of the Dolomites range.

Monte Penice, photographed in autumn by Valerio Maruffi, is part of the Ligurian Apennines, which spans the Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna regions.

Monte Penice, photographed in autumn by Valerio Maruffi, is part of the Ligurian Apennines, which spans the Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna regions.

The beautifully contrasting colors in this image of the Stura di Demonte Valley, southwest of Piedmont in the province of Cuneo, were captured by Elio Pattarino.

The beautifully contrasting colors in this image of the Stura di Demonte Valley, southwest of Piedmont in the province of Cuneo, were captured by Elio Pattarino.

Prize winner Davide Noia shot this hauntingly beautiful image in Piedicavallo, a commune in the province of Biella in the Piedmont region.

Prize winner Davide Noia shot this hauntingly beautiful image in Piedicavallo, a commune in the province of Biella in the Piedmont region.

This idyllic scene captured by Antonino Galati depicts Maullazzo Lake in Nebrodi Park in the Province of Messina, Sicily.

 This idyllic scene captured by Antonino Galati depicts Maullazzo Lake in Nebrodi Park in the Province of Messina, Sicily.

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Daniele Vallauri found this sunny spot in the Vermenagna Valley in the Piedmont region at the foot of the Alps in the northwest.

Daniele Vallauri found this sunny spot in the Vermenagna Valley in the Piedmont region at the foot of the Alps in the northwest.

Some 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Reggio Emilia, among the most beautiful of the Reggio Emilia Apennines, Carlo Alberto Conti snapped this image of beech trees reflected in Calamone lake.

Some 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Reggio Emilia, among the most beautiful of the Reggio Emilia Apennines, Carlo Alberto Conti snapped this image of beech trees reflected in Calamone lake.

Enrico Lion's snap of Monte Grappa in Veneto, part of the Venetian Prealps. The mountain lies between the Venetian plain to the south and the central alpine areas to the north and stands at 1,775 meters (5,823ft).

Enrico Lion’s snap of Monte Grappa in Veneto, part of the Venetian Prealps. The mountain lies between the Venetian plain to the south and the central alpine areas to the north and stands at 1,775 meters (5,823ft).

Chianale is a tiny village in the Varaita Valley, on the Italian-French border south-west of Piedmont, characterized by its narrow roads and traditional stone houses. Giulia Borrelli photographed it on a sunny day.

Chianale is a tiny village in the Varaita Valley, on the Italian-French border south-west of Piedmont, characterized by its narrow roads and traditional stone houses. Giulia Borrelli photographed it on a sunny day.

This beechwood forest in the eastern province of Macerata has an almost enchanted feel to it. Giada Siliquini captured it in dappled sunlight.

This beechwood forest in the eastern province of Macerata has an almost enchanted feel to it. Giada Siliquini captured it in dappled sunlight.

Pejo Valley in the northern region of Trentino is home to a ski resort that recently became the first in Europe to ban plastic after it was discovered that a nearby glacier contained a significant amount of microplastics. This image is by Valentina Veneri.

Pejo Valley in the northern region of Trentino is home to a ski resort that recently became the first in Europe to ban plastic after it was discovered that a nearby glacier contained a significant amount of microplastics. This image is by Valentina Veneri.

Gressoney is at the center of the Monterosa ski circuit in the Aosta Valley. This image was snapped by Davide Noia on a beautiful summer's day.

Gressoney is at the center of the Monterosa ski circuit in the Aosta Valley. This image was snapped by Davide Noia on a beautiful summer’s day.

The province of L'Aquila in central Italy can get plenty of snow when temperatures drop. This wintry scene was snapped by Fulgenzio Ciccozzi.

The province of L’Aquila in central Italy can get plenty of snow when temperatures drop. This wintry scene was snapped by Fulgenzio Ciccozzi.

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