The San Giuliano Terme area includes one of Tuscany's most important nature reserves: the nature park of Migliarino, San Rossore and Massaciuccoli. This park was set up by the Tuscan Region with the aim of looking after the ecosystem of the Pisa-Lucca coastline. In fact, it consists of 14 different nature reserves and no fewer than 33 nature trails, suitable both for walkers and cyclists. Water is the pre-eminent element, with marshes, pools, canals, the famous Lake Massaciuccoli, and of course the Arno and the Serchio.
One of reserve's many high points is the beach of Marina di Vecchiano, the beautiful strip of sand that runs for some four kilometres from the mouth of the Serchio to Torre del Lago Puccini. The beach has a bathing resort with various facilities, all tastefully integrated with the surrounding greenery.
Ripafratta, a borderland long contested between Lucca and Pisa, has the fortress of San Paolino, which dates back to 970. A number of trekking routes start from this town, one of which climbs towards the nineteenth-century church and hermitage of Rupecava. If you're on a bicycle, however, Ripafratta will put you on the "Puccini" cycle route, which takes you to Lucca; alternatively, you can take the track that follows the impressive Medici-built aqueduct.
Agriculture is vitally important to the area. With its collection of old field tools, the Radico di Rigoli Museum opens a window onto the traditions of farming life and its relationship with the land.