NATURAL PARKS

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The Mediterranean forest is abundant in this territory. It is found in all the parks and frames the medieval and modern Etruscan landmarks, but can be fully appreciated in the coastal parks where long and wide sandy beaches give way to dense dune vegetation and to the extended inland forest parks. There are many natural routes, long paths unfamiliar with the sound of engines, passable only by horse, bicycle or on foot.


The Sterpaia Coastal Park is a revitalised forest. After fighting for nearly three decades, the illegal buildings were eliminated and the area has been restored to public use. The forest came back to life and all that remains of the past are the rows of tamarisk and pittosporum plants and eucalyptus trees, found in small clusters, forming hedges. Although these hedge fences once surrounded the illegal buildings,  they  are testimony to the history of the forest and its problematic past. Today, the three hundred hectares that the council of Piombino has cleared of illegal constructions, represent an environmental system of great value, in which dunes, wetlands, agricultural clearings, wooded areas and a rare coastal stretch of humid forest extend. The botanical features that make this area distinct are the monumental sizes reached by various plants: ash trees (fraxinus), oak (quercus) and Turkey oak (quercus cerris), with a trunk circumference of a few meters. More importantly the landscape allows us to understand its value when we see how it was used for animal grazing in the early 1900's.
The park extends for 296 hectares of which 17 are sandy shores, with an expanding coastline of about 10 km, 124 hectares of dunes and rear dune areas and 155 hectares divided between woods and agricultural clearings.


The Rimigliano Coastal Park, is a green coastline overlooking the sea. A strong, wild landscape that runs along the low, sandy coast. One hundred and fifty hectares of bush shaped by sea winds, dominated by oak trees and patches of shady pine forest. A typical Mediterranean environment behind the sandy shores, alternating between the herbaceous species that colonise the sandy dunes and the low juniper, myrtle and phillyrea scrub and finally the beautiful ilex (holm oak) along with domestic and maritime pines also shaped by the wind. Small rodents, hedgehogs, foxes, weasels and also birds such as jays and woodpeckers inhabit the forest.


The beautiful chestnut, and oak specimens can be noted in the Forest Park of Poggio Neri. A green kingdom, dominated by deer and wild boar, not far from the medieval village of Sassetta. Traces of an ancient coal, chestnut and hunting economy are clearly visible in the seven hundred hectares of the park, of which six hundred are entirely wooded.  The “forest Museum” has been created in this park where the tools used in various processes introduce us to the discovery of wood crafts. The museum also displays a perfect and meticulous reconstruction of the Charcoal world: a traditional hut, a chestnut drying barn and a charcoal burner.


The landscape of vegetation's history is closely linked to the mining activities, coal production, wood cutting and also to the “Montioni Natural Park”. A forest of evergreen sclerophyllous, where the holm oak prevails, sometimes mixed with deciduous trees that extend for a total of seven thousand hectares to the end of  the provinces of Livorno and Grosseto, where we can roam along countless paths once used by woodcutters, charcoal burners, shepherds and hunters. Another aspect of great cultural value is the mining of alum with the remains of a mining village from the Napoleonic era still visible today. The revival of an industry which was largely attributable to the 'Princess of Piombino', Elisa Bonaparte. Also of great interest is the wildlife aspect and the large number of wild ungulates (animals with claws): wild boar, fallow deer and roe deer.