From the 16th century tower to the Blue Flag beaches
Until the first hydraulic reclamation works, carried out by the Medici in 1558, the territory of the Sterpaia Park was marshland with expanses of woodland alternating with a few cultivated areas.
Much of the territory was occupied by the so-called “Piombino Lake” which was completely reclaimed through “filling” (that is, by depositing the sediments of the River Cornia) on the initiative of the Grand-Duke of Tuscany Leopoldo II, within the wider project of reclaiming the Tuscan saline marshes.
Besides farming, the economic activities of the past included sheep farming, production of sea salt, fishing, hunting and the gathering of leeches, used for therapeutic purposes.
The more recent history of the Sterpaia Park, instead, has seen 30 years of veritable civil battles, since the first unauthorised buildings were built in the area. Despite the building prohibition order in the municipal planning regulations, the area was divided into 20 small lots, pieces of land on which small substandard houses were built as holiday homes. In the 1980s, it was estimated that around 10,000 people spent their holidays there.
In 1976, the Town Authorities of Piombino began a long battle against this phenomenon and decided to create a public park; overcoming two building amnesties in 1985 and 1994, thanks to the landscape restrictions in place in the area, it managed to demolish the unauthorised buildings and proceeded with the expropriation of all the land involved in the housing development.
In 1994, Sterpaia, with the final expropriation decrees, once again become an asset that could be enjoyed by all. In 1998, the demolition of the 2,000 unauthorised buildings was completed and Sterpaia was included in the Tuscany Region’s system of protected areas, as an “Anpil” (Protected natural area of local interest), as of regional law no. 49 dated 11 April 1995 concerning parks and regional protected areas.