natureNaturalistic attractions

Oasi della Contessa Regional Nature Reserve

Discover an area filled with natural jewels halfway between Livorno and Pisa

Collesalvetti
The “Oasi della Contessa” Nature Reserve is a surviving strip of the ancient system of coastal wetland that once typyfied the Pisa-Livorno plain. The land reclamation projects were firstly launched by the Medici family and, later on, by the Lorena.
 
Nowadays, the reserve is located east of the town of Collesalvetti, between the small villages of Stagno and Guasticce, and it is set within the premises of the Bellavista Insuese Estate (Tenuta Bellavista Insuese in italian).
 
It consists of roughly 22 hectares of land that still cherish paludal and alluvial sediments going back as far as the post-ice age era and serve as a natural habitat for many species of animals and plants. Furthermore, the area also boasts archaeological findings that have been linked to prehistorical pile dwelling communities.
 
The Oasi della Contessa is a privileged stop along the flyways of many waterbirds (which is possibly the most important peculiarity of the area) but it is also home to sedentary species and birds that nest in the surroundings of the reserve. Just to mention a few species, the Oasi hosts red herons, (little) bitterns, teals, water rails, marsh harriers, sedge warblers and marine jays.
As for the flora, the reserve is home to Phragmites australis (known in Italy as Cannuccia palustre) and vegetation typical of humid areas, white willow, tamarisk and white poplar. Moreover, Periploca graeca and hygrophyte vegetation are also found in the area.
 
The Nature Reserve “Oasi della Contessa” is part of the European Natura 2000 network, it has been included in the wider Site of Community Importance “Padule di Suese and Biscottino” and has been recognized as a Special Protection Area under the EU Birds Directive. In 2016, the reserve has also been included within the larger “Selve Costiere di Toscana” Biosphere Reserve under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme.
 
What can you do in the Oasi della Contessa Nature Reserve? A large variety of multidisciplinary and ecologically sustainable activities for both groups and shools are available, such as guided tours, naturalistic photography, birdwatching, educational activities, workshops. You will also have the possibility to take part in one of the guided treks that are organized from time to time.
 
Collesalvetti
A wonderful natural environment surrounded by hills, woods and Mediterranean greenery
Apart from the main town of Collesalvetti–originally an ancient Roman settlement, then a medieval fief and a busy agricultural village–there are numerous villages with historical monuments in this area that are of Etruscan-Roman origin. There are also still traces of prehistoric times. ...
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