SAN ROSSORE AND MASSACIUCCOLI NATURE PARK
One of the three regional parks of Tuscany, represents a significant reality in the context of the area that includes the provinces of Pisa and Lucca: with an extension of about 23,000 hectares, it covers a wide strip of the Tuscan coast that overlooks the city of Livorno up to the gates of Versilia, but also the inner strip, which reaches the foot of the mountains of Lucca, beyond the Lake of Massaciuccoli and the boundaries of the two towns of Pisa and Viareggio.
Water is one of the dominant elements of the Park: ponds, ditches, swamps and canals, that is, depressed soils that turn into marshes, alternate with "tomboli", ancient dunes colonized by Mediterranean vegetation with holm oaks and pines. There are also other areas of forest, where there are trees with deciduous leaves typical of the original forests, up to the belt behind the dunes, characterized by vegetation with low shrubs. Finally there is the dune belt and the beach, with the community of pioneer plants that colonize the dunes: an incredible variety of environments and habitats that determines an extraordinary biodiversity.
Within the protected area there are the Massaciuccoli Lake and the Bourbon Estates, Migliarino, San Rossore, Tombolo and Coltano: the park has always been organized historically in "estates", that is, defined portions of territory that are part of an "organic system" of the Park itself.
The fauna of the Park of Migliarino San Rossore and Massaciuccoli includes a large presence of deer and wild boar along with other mammals such as foxes, porcupines, dormouses, badgers and squirrels. Very rich also the avifauna: the lake of Massaciuccoli is station for beyond 200 species of sedentary birds, migratory and nidifying.
Thanks to its fortunate geographical location both in terms of climate and accessibility, the park can be experienced and enjoyed during all seasons, even in winter, with the continuous activities and proposals of the Visitor Centres, that organize guided tours on foot, by bike, in pullmann, on horseback, in carriage and with the train, along paths more known or to the discovery of paths that, instead, still remain authentic "pearls " to expose.
MARINE PROTECTED AREA - BUCKETS OF MELORIA
Located 3 miles from the coast of Livorno, the Marine Protected Area "Secche della Meloria" has an area of 9,372 hectares and includes a wide cliff that extends for just under half of its extension (about 4,000 hectares).
Its seabed, which varies on average from 3 to 12 meters, consist of an alternation of wide sand clearings, Posidonia Oceanica prairies and typical geological formation, called "basins", visited every year by hundreds of divers.
There are numerous shipwrecks and archaeological remains inside the area, as evidence of the shipwrecks of military and civilian boats heading towards the port of Pisa in the Roman period before and at the time of the maritime republics then.
The shoals are also famous for the historic naval battle known as the "Battle of Meloria", which in 1284 involved the fleet of the Republic of Genoa and that of Pisa and which ended with the defeat of Pisa, sanctioning the consequent maritime dominance of the city of Genoa in the years to come.
The tower of Meloria, erected for the first time in 1157 of the Republic of Pisa to signal the danger of the Shoals, was destroyed and rebuilt several times, the current structure dates back to 1712, the time of the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo III.
TOMBOLO'S ESTATE - OASIS WWF
In the territory of the Parco di Migliarino San Rossore there are two areas managed by the Comitato WWF Oasis Lotorale Pisano: the Cornacchiaia wood and the Tirrenia dune. Both are in the southern part of the Park and are interesting from both a botanical and faunal point of view: both are home to the typical species of the Park, such as wild boar, fox, badger, squirrel, dormouse, porcupine, marsh turtle, the woodpecker, the jay, the bee-eater and numerous songbirds.
The Oasis WWF of Cornacchiaia wood presents the classic distribution of vegetation on the alluvial soils generated by the Arno. These soils have the characteristic alternation of "tomboli" and "lame", that is, cords of sandy dunes separated from each other by humid depressions. It is typical of the dunes the evergreen vegetation, whilst in the "lame" the plants are usually deciduous. In the Cornacchiaia on the "tomboli" the lecceta predominates as here has not happened the progressive substitution of the leccio with the pine.
The Oasis WWF of Tirrenia Dune was born in 1977 in an area of the coast that has a luxuriant development of the Mediterranean maquis. In the belt near the sea we find the typical psammophile species, among which is particularly luxuriant the precious golden rod of the beaches, endemic to the coast of upper Tuscany, while in the rear dune is present the rare Greek periploca, plant similar in appearance to tropical lianas.
In agreement with the Parco Regionale Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli Entity, the LIPU (Italian league bird protection) since 1985 manages the Chiarone Nature Reserve: an area of 60 ha of marshes, located close to the hills of Massarosa which is accessed from the village of Massaciuccoli, ancient town of Roman origin that gives the name to the lake.
The Oasis can be visited on foot along a system of stilt walkways that cross the swamp and allow you to observe the most characteristic environments of the lake: the vast extensions of marsh straw in association with the falasco and typhoon; the "chiari", shallow bodies of water ideal for waders to find nourishment; the "aggallati", pieces of floating swamp both united to the mainland and in the form of real islands, formed by peat that rests on the intertwined rhizomes of the reeds, where have settled vegetation relict of climates different from the current one. Glacial wrecks such as the Sfagnum sp.pl., a kind of moss that forms soft carpets that host the insectivorous Drosera rotundifolia and other very rare entities, both wrecks of warm-humid climates, such as the great fern Osmunda regalis.
Very rich and diversified is also the ornithological fauna that is possible to observe in the different seasons.
The lake is for many species an excellent site for breeding, wintering or stopping during the migratory journey and looks like an enthusiastic birdwatching gym with over 260 species of birds reported.
SAN ROSSORE ESTATE
In this locality, surrounded by the green pines and centuries-old magnolias, once stood the Villa Reale. The other buildings in Cascine Vecchie date back to the end of the 19th century. The estate of San Rossore with its wealth of habitat and high natural value offers various types of diverse environments that characterize the part of the territory between the coast and the city of Pisa. The visitor center organizes tours with natural and educational programs within the Natural Park of Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli.
For groups and private can be booked guided tours by train on foot or by bike and trekking trails. The guided tour is the fundamental condition to appreciate this great nature reserve and the excursions, accompanied by environmental guides and qualified operators, have naturalistic or historical-artistic character for a deeper knowledge of the territory.
Trip of 4 hours by boat, sailing through the swamp we can immerse ourselves in the hidden sounds of reeds and observe the free flight of hawks, herons and colored ducks. To be added the visit to the Museum Villa Puccini, to discover the places that inspired the melodies of the Master.
You can also book canoe excursions and with a minimum of experience you can rent at the Oasis kajak canoes from 1 to 3 places.
Boat excursions can also be booked, accompanied by an expert guide from Lipu, in the lake and in the marshes of Massaciuccoli. Departure from the small port of Massaciuccoli in front of the farmhouse dell'Oasi Lipu. Duration 1 hour and a half, with reservation for groups of 25 people.