5 Tuscany Nature Reserves and Parks That Feel Like a Slice of Heaven
Tuscany is a truly blessed place. No surprises here, though. Taking just a quick glance around, one can quickly feel the overpowering beauty and tranquility exuding from every inch of land. Truth be told, Tuscany is an earthy heaven for many people, nature-lovers, and others.
Don’t take our word for it, though. Check out the parks and nature reserves in Tuscany and see with your own eyes. And, since figuring out where to begin can be quite challenging (there are hundreds of national parks and natural reserves in Tuscany), here is a handy guide!
Ready to walk on paths between rivers, photograph animals, explore caves, recharge those soul-batteries, and have a picnic at rolling meadows? Here goes.
The Natural Park Migliarino San Rossore and Massaciuccoli Complex
A natural oasis along the coast and one of the largest natural parks in the beautiful Italian region of Tuscany. It comprises several different wings entering the provinces of Lucca and Pisa, each bearing its own unique allure. The north part of the park is covered primarily with forests, offering exceptional opportunities for hiking. In contrast, another side includes the Massaciuccoli lake, which is great for sports activities like rowing. Of course, you may as well enjoy a picnic and admire the many (protected) species and the spellbinding fauna around.
The estate of San Rossore, on the other hand, features more historical sites, while the southernmost section of the park is home to a rocky area on the Livorno coast called Meloria Shoals. It should also be noted that the entire park is protected by the Italian League for the Protection of Birds.
More info here.
Val Di Cornia Parks
You will find them between the Grosseto and Livorno provinces, offering pristine views of the sea and the heart-stopping landscape of the countryside. The area consists of several natural parks definitely worth visiting, including the Archaeological Park of San Silvestro and the Archaeological Park of Baratti and Populonia. The first, focuses on mineral extraction and enables visitors to join an adventure that involves exploring the Temperino Mine. The second, provides numerous routes to discover the ancient Etruscan necropolises as you descend to the captivating Gulf of Baratti, where you can, weather permitting, take a refreshing dive in the crystalline waters or sunbathe and have some beach fun.
Or you could take the path towards the Coastal Park of Rimigliano or Sterpaia and take delight in seaside activities. As a bonus activity, we suggest a trip to the Montioni Natural Park. Be prepared to encounter some wild animals, such as deer. Just be gentle and try not to scare them!
Val d’Orcia Park
The Siena province is on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list (so, heavily protected) and dazzles with its character, being primarily a culture and artistic nature park than anything else. As you stroll the paths of this charming place (between the towns of Montalcino and Pienza), warm colours and imposing cypress trees lining the roads will welcome you to an experience that will make you feel as if you are part of a Renaissance painting. Some people say that the real essence and soul of Tuscany is depicted here, soaking the land and creating heart-stopping views that include scenic farm houses scattered among the hills and idyllic rural landscapes.
Maremma Regional Park
Grosseto hosts one of the first nature reserves in Tuscany and is home to an impressive array of fauna and vegetation. What is even more astounding here is the rich variety of the landscape. The vast lands of herbs and flowers give way to rocky and wild terrains with rugged cliffs and wild hills just before it gets verdant again infused with inviting scents from the berries and the blossoming trees. And all that, only a breath away from the pine forests and the sandy beaches of the seaside towns (i.e., Talamone town).
Indeed, it is one of those times when words are so little when trying to paint the portrait of such a natural masterpiece! You will feel it yourself as you enter the multiple green areas of this park, each offering a different time-travel and a chance to stroll between various pastimes. And, if you head south, expect to enjoy another side of this heavenly Tuscany region. The Monti dell’Uccellina is another protected area with butteri and real cowboys on horseback keeping an eye on placid cows!
More info here.
We saved the best for last! It is difficult to describe the unsurpassable allure and charm of this place, which is impressively rich in natural attractions. The Casentinesi Forests span between the provinces of Forli-Cesena, Florence, and Arezzo and are characterised by a truly spiritual and magnetic atmosphere and an incredible change of scenery, with historical sites giving way to lush lands and vice versa.
Home to wild animals, including foxes and deer, the Casentinesi Forests also feature plenty of natural trails to lead you deep into the forest or sunny clearings so you can rejuvenate yourself with fresh air and captivating views.
And, let’s not forget that inside the Casentinesi Forests lie picturesque villages, such as Badia Prataglia that dazzle with their Romanesque architecture and imposing shrines, abbeys, and churches (i.e., the Sanctuary of San Francesco della Verna).
Of course, this is just a super small list of the natural reserves and parks worth visiting in Tuscany. We are pretty sure you will soon fill that list with your own endeavours and explorations of the area around your elegant villa, farmhouse, or cottage in Tuscany(or a bit further!). Tuscany is paradisal, no doubt about that.