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Riserva naturale Lucciola Bella

Lucciola Bella Nature Reserve

The Reserve is most famous for its rocky outcrops and jutting ridges

Map for 43.021245,11.753552
Municipalities: Castiglion D’Orcia – Pienza – Radicofani
Covers: 1148 hectares

The Lucciola Bella Reserve is south east of the town of Pienza, along the road that goes from the Val D'Orcia towards Chianciano Terme and which surrounds the eastern edge of the Crete Senese. The mouth of the river Orcia, which flows through the protected area, is in the east on Mount Cetona. On the reserve’s boundaries the river joins the Miglia stream and the Formone stream which flows down from Mount Amiata.The  reserve is most famous for its rocky outcrops and jutting ridges. These rough rock formations are caused by erosion and are typical of the landscape around Siena. Often used as grazing pastures, these areas are also rich in vegetation and bird life.

Much of this rocky terrain is void of any greenery although certain drought resistant plants manage to cling on, despite the high levels of salinity and constant erosion the clay topsoil is subject to. For example, there is absinthe wormwood, a small aromatic bush with silver-green leaves which only grows in the clay erosion areas of Tuscany and Emilia Romagna. Other plants that thrive in this arid landscape are various types of couch grasses which are common along the coast but much rarer inland. Numerous bushy shrubs grow on the exposed river bed of the Orcia which are unique to southern Tuscany, northern Lazio and a few areas in Umbria.

In order to maintain the natural balance of the reserve and protect its wildlife, only traditional agricultural techniques are used. No artificial pesticides are used and the mosaic of vegetation around cultivated areas is kept as nature intended. The reserve has an environment which encourages the nesting of the extremely rare stone curlew. The whole Crete Senese area is fundamental for the survival of the montagu’s harrier which nest here in great numbers. In short, this area is an ornithologist’s paradise as well as being a beautiful nature reserve.
An ideal city, founded on a uniform idea of beauty
Pienza is the most well-known center of the Val d’Orcia and is famous as being the home town of Pope Pius II, born Enea Silvio Piccolomini in 1405. Pius II, once elected Pope, transformed his home town, Corsignano, into an urban-architectural jewel, in this way contrasting it with the city that had marginalized his family: Siena. ...