The Bandite Nature Reserve covers nearly 9,000 hectares of thick, perfumed Mediterranean scrub. The protected area includes the towns of Castiglione della Pescaia, Follonica, Gavorrano and Scarlino, and Monte d’Alma before reaching the sea. Also known simply as the Bandite di Scarlino, the name of the municipality that occupies the larger part of the area, it owes the other half of this curious name to the frequent declarations, bandi, in the past to sell portions of the forest.
In ancient times the area was chosen by man for settlements. Findings show that, already by the pre-historic era, they were inhabited and used for hunting and harvesting. Remnants of the Etruscan period can be found in an important archaeological site – the necropolis of Poggio Tondo – one of the most interesting places in the area.
Nowadays, the reserve has a network of paths that mean visitors can explore while respecting nature. These routes are loved especially by mountain bikers but are equally enjoyable to discover by horse or by foot, taking in spectacular views, made even more so when you glimpse the sea for the first time.
The Bandite, together with an oasis of nature and wildlife, are a part of the Natural Protected Coastal Area of Scarlino. Here you’ll find some of the most beautiful beaches in Tuscany, accessible only on foot, but with crystal waters and views that really make it a special spot. We can’t forget Cala Francese, Cala Martina – linked to Giuseppe Garibaldi – and the enchanting Cala Violina, a sandy bay named for the sound produced by your footsteps while walking over the sand.