3 Hidden Gems: Get Back To Nature In Tuscany
Posted by Ruth Anne (01/05/2015)
If you take a trip to Tuscany you’ll find wonderful culture, art, and history around every corner. However for those who prefer a quieter experience, there is also a hidden, natural side to Tuscany away from the cities and towns. Here are three of the hidden treasures that you can visit around the region.
Diaccia BotronaThis nature reserve in the Maremma region was created in the 18th century when an existing lake was drained. The result was the creation of astonishing wetlands, a particular pull for birds who need this very specific habitat like herons, hawks and wild geese. One of the biggest pulls is the flamingos – one of the only places in Italy where they can be observed in the wild.
Within the nature reserve there is a multimedia museum called Casa Rossa, which for a small fee provides you with a great viewing point as well as a lot of additional information regarding the area and the research carried out there. However, access to the nature reserve itself is free, so as long as you are quiet and respectful of the area you can enjoy the wonderful scenery and observe wild tortoises, tree-frogs and porcupines as well as the birds without paying a penny.
Crete SenesiJust outside Siena lies the beautiful and unique Crete Senesi. Vegetation here is sparse, exposing the blue-grey, clay based soil underneath which rolls in gentle hills that are in shape and texture not unlike a desert. The unique colour and sparseness has earned it a reputation as a ‘lunar landscape’. Those who have been there report that the effect is a little eerie, especially as it is dotted with patches of forest and farmhouses which stand in contrast to the stark backdrop. Photographers in particular are pulled here, as it’s unlike almost any other place on earth.
Arcipelago Toscano National ParkThis is the largest marine park in Europe, safeguarding over 55,000 hectares of the Mediterranean Sea and encompassing the Tuscan archipelago – chain of islands – just off the coast. The islands themselves are well preserved beauty spots, and have a host of protected birds, plants and mammals to discover, while the sea is home to dolphins, rare fish and a wealth of underwater vegetation. The islands are dotted with educational visitors centres to visit, or if you fancy exploring yourself, you’ll find plenty to do and see. Make sure you check the rules of what you are and aren’t allowed to do, as the area is protected.