Along the Tuscan coast of Piombino and San Vincenzo and also in its hinterland made up of beautiful hills that sometimes overlook the sea, one can glimpse natural trails and wonderful parks of which even the famous Cesare Pavese wrote in Donne Appassionate. His verses refer to the sea of the Val di Cornia and its pristine shores, characterized by the Mediterranean maquis.
Ideal places to spend days combining nature and relaxation, here are the natural areas that enrich the Etruscan Coast with greenery.
Lapped by the splendid waters of the Piombino sea, the Sterpaia Park is home to some majestic centuries-old oaks and is one of the rare Italian wet forests that still retains its peculiarity as the ancient coastal landscape of the Maremma. Approximately 300 hectares of park, also punctuated by historical testimonies; along the coast stand the Torre Mozza, the Torre del Sale, and the Carbonifera, structures that were a part of the defense system of times past that enrich the landscape with history.
Near the Sterpaia Park is the Orti-Bottagone Natural Oasis, managed by the WWF. A brackish area and freshwater marsh where a large number of migratory birds, including pink flamingos and waders, stop, overwinter and nest. The oasis is criss-crossed by two nature trails that are ideal for birdwatching.
The picturesque promontory of Piombino is home to Punta Falcone Park, home to a wide variety of typical Mediterranean plants and flowers. Among other things, colonies of seagulls and cormorants, inhabitants of some anti-aircraft army lockers dating back to World War II, also live here.
Inland from Pisa, a short distance from the coastal pearl of Castiglioncello, an important wetland makes its way through the beautiful hills, the Santa Luce Natural Reserve. A lake of artificial origin, it is an oasis of biodiversity that is home to numerous species of birds - more than 180 species have been surveyed -that find refreshment here during their migrations.
Set in the beautiful surroundings of Bibbona, the Magona Maquis is a beautiful expanse of woodland covering over 1,600 hectares of protected natural area. It is rich in wildlife, which can be spotted by taking one of the many hiking trails that wind through the maquis; there are 16 well-marked trails that can be taken on foot, horseback or by mountain bike.
A predominantly wooded area in the municipality of Riparbella, the Bandita del Giardino Scornabecchi is a natural area covered with typical Mediterranean scrubland species furrowed by numerous hiking and biking trails. It is home to many wild animals as well as the "Suspended Garden" adventure park, an area equipped with acrobatic trails among the trees, archery and picnic and barbecue area, ideal for spending engaging days combining nature and outdoors.
About 15 kilometers of pine forests and dunes along the coast, the Tomboli di Cecina Natural Reserve is an oasis of nature and relaxation washed by the sea. It is home to vegetation species of special naturalistic value such as the sea lily, sea rocket and maritime eryngium, and wildlife such as porcupines, foxes and deer. The spectacular pine forests of the Southern Tombolo, were planted at the behest of Leopold II of Lorraine Grand Duke of Tuscany in order to protect agricultural activities from sea salt and winds from the sea; to this day, they represent a precious treasure chest of biodiversity.
A succession of cultivated fields, wet meadows, flooded forests, ponds and coastal mounds, the Padule di Bolgheri Wildlife Refuge is an environment that gives shelter to many habitats of considerable naturalistic importance and was the first private wildlife oasis in Italy. Many species find refuge here, especially bird species, herons, woodpeckers, jays, the peregrine falcon, the marsh harrier, the sea eagle, many other birds, as well as mammals, including deer.
Perched on a hill, the delightful village of Sassetta offers the opportunity for beautiful as well as easy nature walks. Just a short distance from the village is the Poggio Neri forest park, dominated by holm oaks and chestnut trees, an ideal realm for those who love outdoor activities. Along the trails, properly marked trekking routes have been set up and can be traveled on foot, horseback or mountain bike. Here one can stop at the equipped points and also retrace the history of an ancient trade, the coalman. You can take the route called the "coal road", a tribute to the old coalmen, who had made the forest their reason for living.
Overlooking the crystal-clear sea of San Vincenzo, the Rimigliano Coastal Park offers those who lay their eyes on it a coastline of the finest sand lapped by Mediterranean vegetation for miles and miles. Here one can encounter numerous holm oaks and stone pines characterized by striking umbrella-like foliage. A wild coastal area, where services such as picnic areas and refreshment facilities are available.
Near the beautiful village of Suvereto, a visit to the Montioni interprovincial park connot be missed. It has a total area of about 7 thousand hectares, dotted with holm oak forests and alum quarries, and is home to fallow deer, wild boars and other ungulates in the wild. It also has an extensive trail network, to experience its wonderful nature.