Maremma is the land of natural parks par excellence, and whether you are nature enthusiasts or not, you will be awestruck by the boundless green expanse that are the gentle hills of this land.
Here you will have the chance to get the purest essence of this land, with plenty of places full of history and a unique flora and fauna, composed of protected animal species and centenary plants. Within the parks of Maremma it is possible to arrange guided excursions, or even to go for simple hikes, or bike and horseback rides. This way visitors will be welcomed by the amazing simplicity and magic of this area. The natural reserves to be visited around Maremma are countless, and they have something for all tastes.
The most renown reserve, homeland of the legendary butteri mounted herders and emblematic place of this region is the Natural Park of Maremma, although the natural area of the Costiere di Scarlino is not less important nor less moving. Other gems that are worth a visit during a stay in Maremma are the Tuscan Mining Geopark , the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago, the Duna Feniglia Reserve, the Diaccia Botrona Nature Reserve in Castiglione della Pescaia, Monte Labbro Nature Reserve and the (western and eastern) Tomboli Natural Reserve of Follonica.
Bandite di Scarlino Natural Park
Bandite di Scarlino Nature Reserve extends over approximately 9,000 hectares of scented, luxuriant Mediterranean scrub. The territory of this protected area spans across the municipalities of Castiglione della Pescaia, Follonica, Gavorrano and Scarlino, stretching from the hilly zone of Mount d’Alma to the shore. Also known under the sole name of Bandite di Scarlino, from the municipality which hosts its majority, this reserve owes this curious name to the Italian word bandi, public declarations issued in order to sell portions of forest.
This area was anciently also picked for the construction of settlements. As proof of this, evidence was found that this area was inhabited and used for hunting and food collection back in pre-historic times. Proof of Etruscan presence was found instead in the necropolis of Poggio Tondo, among the most interesting sites of this area.
Within the Bandite di Scarlino park there is an extensive and well-developed network of trails widely known and visited by local mountain bikers. All the available itineraries are well-marked and they differ according to the kind of terrain they feature and to the subsequent difficulty level: forest tracks, mule tracks and firebreaks.
Part of the Bandite is also the protected natural area of the Costiere di Scarlino, which together with an animal reserve represent a refuge for many animal species such as ducks, mallards and hoopoes. Here there are also some of the most beautiful beaches in Tuscany, only accessible after long walks, awaiting visitors with their unbelievable crystal clear waters and landscapes. Amongst the most fascinating we like to point out Cala Francese, Cala Martina, historically linked to Giuseppe Garibaldi, and the enchanting Cala Violina, famous for the sound its sand makes when walked upon, a characteristic that gave it the imaginative name it bears. Finally, there is Cala Civette, an unspoilt beach with countless colour nuances, that marks the boundary of the Bandite di Scarlino protected area.
Colline Metallifere GeoPark
The Colline Metallifere Technological and Archaeological park was instituted in order to ensure the protection and promotion of the environmental, historical, cultural and techno-scientific heritage of seven municipalities in the province of Grosseto: Follonica, Gavorrano, Massa Marittima, Monterotondo Marittimo, Montieri, Roccastrada and Scarlino. The park has gateways in each municipality, working as a sort of touristic info points, offering visitors all kinds of cultural services. These range from museums and libraries to documentation centres, theatres and actual info points that let visitors into one of the most evocative mining landscapes of Europe. This is truly one of a kind, shaped by more than three thousand years of copper, silver, iron, alum, carbon and pyrite extraction and manufacturing, as well as by the exploitation of geothermal energy. Thanks to its multifaceted nature this park represents an experience that can hardly be found elsewhere.
The park extends over a total surface of 25,000 hectares and it embraces 34 different sites.
Since 2010 the Park of Colline Metallifere is part of the network of the Unesco-recognized Geoparks, the European Global Geopark network, with the name of “Tuscan Mining UNESCO Geopark”. Over 250 million years of geo-thermal activity have turned this area in a true open-air eco-museum, where one can admire Mother Nature’s marvels. The most representative place of this reality is undoubtedly the site named Biancane, an area still characterised by an intense secondary volcanism such as fumaroles, sulphur fumes and thermal mud pools.
Its state-of-the-art geo-museum, MUBIA, definitely deserves a visit.
The Natural Park of Maremma is undoubtedly one of the most impressive attractions for those who wish to indulge in a holiday devoted to nature and wellness. It is a large protected area that was instituted back in 1975 within the larger Regional Park of Tuscany, and it stretches across the green plains of Maremma, including the mountain range of Monti dell’Uccellina, covered in dense Mediterranean shrub, and the coastal area going from Principina a Mare to Talamone, in the municipality of Orbetello.
Here there are several itineraries available. Amongst the most fascinating is the so-called Traversata del parco della Maremma, approximately 20 km of trail that lead to the most charming coves, featuring unique views, watch towers and luxuriant groves. Other paths are also worth a mention, like the one going from Alberese to San Rocco, of about 9.6 km, and the itinerary named Le Grotte, that starts from the town of Alberese and runs along the road cutting the Granducale pine wood, for a total length of 11.7 km.
The Park of Maremma is also known with the name of Parco dell’Uccellina, by virtue of the evocative mountain range that are in this vast geographical area. This park in fact covers more than 9,800 hectares and it hosts an incredibly wide variety of animal species, some of which are very rare like the pink flamingo or the western osprey, not to mention its beautiful centuries-old vegetation.
Given its extension the park is divided into 5 protected zones: the marshy wetlands of
Trappola and of the mouth of the river Ombrone, Paduletto of Collelungo, the Porto Vecchio – Cala Francese – Cala Rossa coastal area, but also the beautiful woody area of Scoglio della Lepre and the woody area known as Fosso del Treccione.
The territory of the park of Maremma embraces a long coastal section: along its 25 km of mostly sandy shore, there are some of the most beautiful and renown beaches of Tuscany, such as Cala di Forno, nearby Talamone, that can only be reached by sea or after hiking approximately 10km along a quite challenging path that crosses some of the forests of the park. This is an uncontaminated beach with shallow, calm and tepid waters where it is not unlikely to come across wild boars and roe deers.
The beach of Marina di Alberese, the most famous within the park, is accessible on foot, by bike or through the available shuttle service.
The beach of Collelungo , nearby Alberese, is also striking, as it is a true oasis of peace and tranquillity, not busy with tourists and nestled between two imposing cliffs.