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natureNaturalistic attractions

Lake Porta

A narrow nature reserve between the Apuan Alps and the shore of Versilia

Map for 44.00761,10.164723

Lake Porta, in the district of Montignoso, is a wet coastal area, the most northerly in Tuscany. It has survived the reclamations that have progressively reduced the marshes, which, historically, were strung along the Tuscan coast. Once upon a time the lake was connected to Lake Massaciuccoli by marshland, now disappeared. 

In this landscape you might see the great bittern, a member of the heron family that is rare throughout Europe. The lake, squeezed between the Apuan Alps and the coastal strip of Versilia, has for centuries been a strategic location for control of the coast and the roads between Massa and Pietrasanta.

Lake Porta
Lake Porta - Credit: Rivieri Emanuele

The lake was called Porta Beltrame after a gate on the fringes of Pietrasanta, and is fed by the streams that begin at the foot of the Porta cliffs. At the source, which is found near the Torretta Medicea, the water maintains a temperature of around 17 degrees centigrade. The wet areas, contained by embankments, is mostly covered by reeds, with little open water.

A wood, similar to the damp surroundings of historical Versilia, has recently developed among the reeds and the wetlands, made up of trees typical of marshy areas: black alder, different kinds ofwillows and poplars. In certain areas there are some wet meadows, characterised by the presence of larch and rushes. A highly rare butterfly, the Large Copper, lives in this environment, in danger of extinction.

Panorama includes sea, plains and mountains
Montignoso and its castle, were under Lucca’s jurisdiction until 1845, when it fell under the dominion of the Estensi Family before becoming part of the Massa Carrara province. THE HISTORIC TOWN CENTRE Castello Aghinolfi This castle, which dominates the panorama, was strategically important and constantly fought over by the military forces of Pisa, Genoa and Lucca. ...