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Basso Merse Nature Reserve

Naturalistic attractions

Rolling hills on the rivers Merse, Farma and Ombrone

The Basso Merse Nature Reserve includes the last ten kilometres of the River Merse as well as the final stretch of the Farma stream and the area where the Merse and Ombrone meet. Between the municipalities of Monticiano, Murlo and Civitella Paganico, the reserve was established to protect the river habitat, whose animal life includes the otter, common kingfisher, European green toad and spectacled salamander.

The vegetation on these hills, which don’t exceed 400 metres above sea level, is dominated by an oak wood and the classic Mediterranean scrub. A very particular flora grows wherever there is serpentinite, a dark green rock that has historically been used to build several of the churches in the area, including the cathedral in Siena. In these particular areas, there are plants that are typical of central Italy, bestowing Tuscan springs with colourful flowers that standout against the dark rockface.

The many clearings in the nature reserve are inviting for birds of prey, like the short-toed eagle, black kite, common buzzard and kestrel. Some animals living in the reserve can be found after dusk, like roe deer and wild boars.

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