Crete Senesi

Accona Desert
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Accona, the desert of the Crete Senesi

In the deep clearings of Tuscany, where the golden light of the sun spreads languidly over the rolling hills, where cities of art excite the soul and the coasts break on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea, lies one of the most enchanting jewels of the region: the Accona desert.

Those who visit Tuscany expect to find rolling green hills adorned with vineyards and olive groves as far as the eye can see. Yet, a well-kept secret lies in a hidden enclave of this region, revealing an entirely different landscape resembling that of a desert. This enigmatic place, the Accona desert, stands as a natural testimony that fascinates and captivates those who dare to immerse themselves in this unusual space.

The origin of the Accona Desert

Located among the undulating Crete Senesi, a region notable for its singular geology, the Accona desert finds its home in the municipal territory of Asciano. Over the millennia, the incessant work of erosion has shaped the hills of clay and clay, shaping a fascinating landscape characterized by sand dunes and suggestive rock formations. The characteristic climatic conditions, together with the scarce presence of vegetation, cooperate in establishing the illusion of a real desert, transporting visitors into a geographical experience beyond all expectations. However, it is fair to remember that it is not a real desert, but rather a so-called “badland”. Specifically, the Accona desert features fields of biancane and gullies.

Accona Desert
Accona Desert (Photo by Gunther TschuchCC BY)

Visit to the Accona desert

Exploring the Accona desert is equivalent to a journey to a parallel and unknown world. Travelers have the opportunity to cross golden fields, climb towering dunes and indulge in the spectacular landscape that unfolds during twilight. The play of light and shadow on the surface of the dunes at sunset offer a visual spectacle of rare intensity, creating an atmosphere full of charm. Many prefer to immerse themselves in this extraordinary natural environment through hiking or cycling, which allow them to fully experience the tranquility, isolation and emotions that the Accona desert can offer.

Life flourishes in apparent aridity

Although the withered appearance of the Accona desert can be deceiving, it is amazing to discover that nature also finds a refuge in this area. Hardy plants such as wild asparagus, thyme and lavender sprout among the dunes, creating a striking contrast to the sandy landscape. As for the fauna, the desert is home to species that have adapted to survive in arid environments, such as the common gecko and the warty gecko, able to blend in among the rocks and move with agility on vertical surfaces. Sightings of birds such as larks and scops owls are not uncommon, creatures that have been able to adapt to this desert adventure. In addition, the Accona desert is home to unique insects, among which the desert beetle stands out, with extraordinary adaptations to survive extreme temperatures and water shortages.

The history of the Accona desert, from the Etruscans to modern tourism

The Accona desert is not only a natural wonder, but also embodies history and culture. This land has been populated since ancient times and retains traces of settlements dating back millennia. Archaeologists have brought to light finds from the Etruscan and Roman eras, evidence of a past rich in life and human activity in an apparently hostile area.

Today, the Accona desert has earned the title of a coveted destination for lovers of trekking, hiking and photography. Travelers can join expert tour guides to explore the secrets of the desert, immersing themselves in its stories. Accommodation facilities such as farmhouses and hotels offer the opportunity to stay in the heart of this natural wonder, allowing visitors to fully experience the unique atmosphere that only the Accona desert can offer.
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