Housed in a large depression originating from the formation of the Apennines, Lake Massaciuccoli represents the advanced stage of an ancient coastal lagoon, set back with the advance of the coastline and the nourishment of sediments transported by the rivers of the Pisan and Versilia plains. Today, with an extension of about 2000 hectares, 700 of which have a lake, it is the most important wetland in Tuscany. It looks like a coastal pond surrounded by a vast strip of marsh vegetation, with eutrophic and medium-low waters (1.6 m the average depth with peaks of 3-4 m). The vast beds of reeds in Phragmites australis and those even more interesting and not very widespread elsewhere in Falasco alternate with small areas in Tipha and host an enormous quantity of even rare and localized marsh botanical essences.
The climate of this area is very particular with a high humidity and a limited temperature range, both in summer and in winter. This has allowed the survival on the lake of relict vegetations of the climates that have followed over the millennia. Thus we find glacial relicts such as the sphagnum moss with the carnivorous Drosera rotundifolia and relics of hot-humid climates such as the large fern Osmunda regalis and the extremely rare Periploca graeca. The arboreal vegetation is represented by alders, ash trees, willows and tamarisks scattered along the banks between the canals and the shores of the lake ...
As far as the fauna is concerned, the systematic group certainly the most represented and representative is that of the birds: the lake occupies a geographical position that makes it an important point of transit and stop for the migrants and the great variety of habitats makes it possible to stop at a high number of species among which we remember the osprey, the pochards, the mignattini and the gabbianelli that thousands fly in the spring over the free waters of the lake, numerous waders and rare species like spatulas and mignattai. This vast wetland with its extremely extensive reed thickets is of great importance also for nesting birds, so we find important populations of bittern, red heron, little bittern, marsh harrier, knight of Italy and numerous species of small reed-like passerines among which we recall the chestnut scallop, the beautiful little rod, the pendulum, the walker up to the most common cannareccioni and reed warblers.
In agreement with the MSRM Regional Park Authority the LIPU (Italian Bird Protection League) has been managing, since 1985, the Chiarone Natural Reserve an area of 60 ha of marsh, located near the hills of Massarosa, which is accessed from the town of Massaciuccoli, an ancient inhabited center of Roman origin which gives its name to the lake. The Oasis can be visited on foot along a system of walkways with stilts that cross the marsh and allow you to observe the most characteristic environments of the lake: the vast extensions of marsh reed in association with the falasco and the cattail; the “chiari”, shallow waters ideal for waders and waders to find nourishment; the "aggallati", pieces of floating marsh both joined to the mainland and in the form of real islands formed by peat that rests on the intertwined rhizomes of the reeds, where relict vegetations of climates different from the current one of notable scientific importance have settled. Both glacial relicts such as the populations of
Sfagnum sp.pl., a particular type of moss that forms the soft carpets that house the insectivorous Drosera rotundifolia and other very rare entities, and relics of hot-humid climates such as the large fern Osmunda regalis.
The ornithological fauna is very rich and diverse, which can be observed by observers in the different seasons. The lake represents for many species an excellent site for reproduction, wintering or stopping during the migratory journey and is an exciting birdwatching gym with over 260 species of birds reported.
The Oasis offers a range of services for the use of the Lake that adapt to all needs and to the widest possible audience, from individuals to groups, from those who want to immerse themselves in the solitude of a sunset in the marsh to those who are passionate about birdwatching and wants to deepen their knowledge. There are initiatives aimed at children, families, young people and adults so that everyone, according to their own sensitivity and state of mind, can enjoy the beauty and sensations that this unique environment has to offer.
Visit on foot
Naturalistic itinerary in the Chiarone Nature Reserve: the route consists of a wooden stilt walkway that winds through the reed and falascheti of the Oasis for about 600 meters and reaches 4 observers, two overlooking the Lake and two in the swamp. A pleasant and short walk that will immerse you in a unique environment where you can observe the typical flora of the marshes and, with a little care, the numerous species of birds that inhabit this environment.
Departure from the square of the Oasis, it is possible to request the accompaniment of a guide, the service is free.
Oasi Lipu di Massaciuccoli: How you can visit!
A way to combine the playful aspect or the sporting passion with the naturalistic visit.
Numerous are the itineraries to do by canoe through the large and small canals that weave in the marsh. At the Oasis it is possible to rent single and double Kayaks or Canadian canoes with 2 or 3 seats and have all the directions and route maps.
For birdwatching enthusiasts, we recommend a guided tour on the lake and in the marsh. the tour can last from an hour to just over 2 hours through the most suggestive corners of the marsh. Walking through the narrow channels, the expert guides of the Oasis will take you to the most hidden and hidden places where it is possible to observe a large number of birds. The small boats are electrically propelled and therefore allow you to enjoy the sounds and emotions of the marsh at the right speed and in absolute silence. Each boat carries up to 4 people plus the guide.
If, on the other hand, you just want to relax and immerse yourself in the quiet of the lake, the best solution is to rent a rowing boat. Together with the boat you will be given a detailed map of the Lake and all the information you need. The boat carries up to 4 people.
For large groups (min. 25 people) it is possible to make a guided excursion by boat on the lake and in the swamp lasting about 1h 30 '. The boat goes around the lake and runs along two canals within the marsh, Malfante and Le Venti. During the tour it is easy to observe, even closely, the largest birds that live on the lake: herons, egrets, marsh hawks etc. . But with a little attention and a good pair of binoculars it is possible to see even small waders like the knights of Italy or the fighters and various species of ducks. Organized groups can book a boat tour on any day of the year otherwise, for individuals or small groups they depart with boats every Sunday spring afternoon (from 1 March to 31 May) starting at 15.00.
If you intend to stay for a few days.
For those who intend to visit, in addition to the Lake, also the other areas of the Park or in any case stay a few days in the area it is possible to stay in the Oasis guesthouse (cap. 15 beds). The accommodation is in bunk beds in rooms with 3 or 6 beds. The cost of the stay, including the
breakfast, is ,00 10.00 per night for LIPU members. The price also includes the use of the kitchen. For organized stays, consult the program of proposals for the current year.
The Visitor Center houses a small museum called the "Museum of the Ecology of the Marsh" of which only the first room (inauguration took place on 27 March 1998) has been realized with funds made available by the LIPU. We invite you to come and visit.
This article was written thanks to the photographs and information provided by the body that manages the Lipu oasis of Massaciuccoli; for more information visit the site
Watch the video