Natural Park of Migliarino, San Rossore, Massaciuccoli
The Natural Park of Migliarino, San Rossore, Massaciuccoli is a large protected area that extends for more than 23,000 hectares. Established in 1979, this regional park develops along the coastal strip between the provinces of Pisa and Lucca, including a real mosaic of natural areas such as Lake Massaciuccoli, the mouths of the Serchio and Arno rivers, the park of San Rossore, the forests of Tombolo, Migliarino and Macchia Lucchese, in addition to the protected marine area of the Secche della Meloria. As confirmation of its great naturalistic value, in 2005 the park was awarded the European diploma of protected areas.
The park is divided into various areas within which there are some estates. The northern coast is occupied by the Macchia Lucchese with the Villa Borbone; continuing along the coast we find the Migliarino estate, the San Rossore estate and the Tombolo estate which is located south of the Arno. In the Versilian hinterland there is the Massaciuccoli Marsh with the lake, the Southern Marsh with the Vecchiano Farm. Finally, in the territory of Pisa we find the Tenuta di Coltano with the homonymous Medici Villa.
Flora and fauna
Since the park is made up of various natural environments that are also very different from each other, both its flora and fauna are extremely rich and varied. One third of the park is covered with woods of ash, holm oak, alder, poplar and pine (both domestic and maritime pines). Then there are the coastal areas with the dunes and the marshy areas. Here there are rare species such as sundew, pink hibiscus, osmunda and periploca.
In the park you can meet many species of mammals such as the wild boar (…on Instagram there are many spectacular photos with wild boars crossing the pine forest!), The wild rabbit, the fallow deer, the wolf and the red fox. There is no shortage of amphibians, fish, reptiles and there are numerous varieties of birds including the heron, the duck, the knight of Italy, the mallard, the woodpecker and the wader.
What to see and what to do in the park
The Natural Park of San Rossore, Migliarino, Massaciuccoli is divided into various sectors. Some of these can be visited freely while others are accessible only with an authorized guide. In particular, the Macchia Lucchese, the Massaciuccoli lake, the Coltano estate and part of the Migliarino and Tombolo estates can be visited freely, while the San Rossore estate is partly free access and partly for a fee.
In the park there are many paths that can be traveled on foot, by bike or on horseback. Finally, on Lake Massaciuccoli you can also make visits by boat.
The park is bordered by over 30 kilometers of beaches. From north to south, we find the Lecciona Beach, Marina di Vecchiano, Gombo, Marina di Pisa, Tirrenia and Calambrone. Along these beaches we find a natural environment characterized by dunes with the typical Mediterranean scrub. Behind it rise thick and green pine forests that were planted starting from the eighteenth century. Depending on the area, you will find free-access beaches and beaches with bathing establishments.
Massaciuccoli Lake is one of the most interesting places to visit in the whole Park. The lake is an area protected by WWF and Lipu due to its rich biodiversity and the numerous species of birds that inhabit or pass through it. Near the lake there is a Lipu Oasis which organizes guided tours both by land and by boat. Here you can go bird watching and also visit the small Museum on the Ecology of the Marsh.
Also known as Pineta di Levante di Viareggio, Macchia Lucchese is the northernmost coastal area of the entire Park. It extends over the territory of the municipality of Viareggio, between the sea and Lake Massaciuccoli. Inside is the Tenuta Borbone. Here there are three different types of natural environments that follow one another in sequence: the beach, the areas behind the dunes and the coastal forest. Each of these environments has a peculiar flora and fauna.
Tenuta di Migliarino
The Tenuta di Migliarino extends along the coast for about 3700 hectares, from the border between the provinces of Lucca and Pisa to the last stretch of the Serchio river. The natural environment is very varied and you can find an infinite number of both plant and animal species. Of particular naturalistic interest is the area of the Dunes of Marina di Vecchiano which constitutes the most impressive stretch of sandy dunes in the whole Park.
Tenuta di San Rossore
Rich in natural environments of high value, the former presidential Tenuta di San Rossore is the heart of the park. It is a wooded area that extends for several hectares and is bordered to the north by the Serchio River, to the south by the Arno, to the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea and to the east by the Cuccia pit. Of particular interest from a naturalistic point of view, is its coastal strip which can only be accessed by accompanied groups. Inside the San Rossore Park there is also the Villa del Gombo which was once the residence of the President of the Italian Republic and is now used by the Tuscany Region as a venue for conferences and cultural events.
Tenuta di Tombolo
The Tenuta di Tombolo occupies an area of 5000 hectares south of the Arno. Partly wooded and partly agricultural, the estate includes two WWF oases: the Dune Oasis of Tirrenia and the Bosco di Cornacchiaia Oasis. Inside there is also the extraordinary Basilica of San Pietro Apostolo, a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture that dates back to a period between the 10th and 12th centuries. Located in San Piero a Grado, the basilica has a particular architecture because it does not have a facade since both short sides are occupied by apses (3 on the east side and 1 on the west). The marvelous interior preserves an impressive cycle of frescoes dating back to the fourteenth century.
Area Marina Protetta Secche della Meloria
The Area Marina Protetta Secche della Meloria is located off the coast of Livorno, about 7 kilometers from the coast. It consists of a bank of shallow water with a maximum depth of just 9 meters. In the whole area, only a few small artificial cliffs emerge from the water on which the maritime signaling lighthouse and the historic Torre della Meloria rise, which was built in memory of the famous battle fought between the Maritime Republics of Pisa and Genoa on 6 August 1284.
Tenuta di Coltano and Villa Medicea
The Tenuta di Coltano covers an area of about 300 hectares and is located in the hinterland behind the Tombolo estate. Characterized by a strong agricultural vocation, the estate has its main point of reference in the sixteenth century Villa Medicea di Coltano. The villa was built by Cosimo I de ‘Medici who commissioned the famous architect Bernardo Buontalenti with the project. This was not a simple residence but also an administrative and agricultural center as well as a hunting lodge. The Lorraine, when they took over from the Medici, enlarged and embellished the building, making it a place of representation.