Tuscany has an extremely various nature as it is surrounded by both mountains and sea. Apart from the famous hilly landscapes, Tuscany also hosts forests, wetlands, the Mediterranean Macchia, mountains and plains.
The vegetation is diverse as well: there are vineyards and olive groves which grow on the hills; chestnut trees which grow at a certain altitude on hills and mountains; cypresses which are the symbol trees of the region, but also pines and the Mediterranian macchia, mainly composed by bushes and small trees.
Tuscan Fauna is specifically known for the presence of pheasants, red deers, wild boars and wolves. In the area of Maremma wild cows and horses can be found together with very many species of birds.
The Protected Natural Areas
The Protected Natural Areas of Tuscany cover almost the 10% of the whole area, a total surface of 227,000 hectares, which are composed by 3 National Parks, 3 Regional Parks, 2 Provincial Parks, 36 State wildlife reserves, 37 Province wildlife reserves and 52 Local interest protected natural areas.
The Tuscan Achipelago National Park, The Casentino Forest, Mount Falterona and Campigna National Park and the Tosco-Emilian Appenine National Park are the Tuscan National Parks.
- The Tuscan Archipelago National park
The Tuscan Archipelago National Park is the largest marine Park in Europe: it safeguards 56,766 hectares of sea and 17,887 hectares of land. It includes the 7 main islands of the Archipelago, some minor islands and cliffs. These islands are different from one another: each of them preserves traces of its history, each of them is unique; their only common feature is represented by the beauty of the nature.
- The Casentino Forest, Mount Falterona and Campigna National Park
A large protected area in the Apennines of Tuscany and Romagna, including the largest and best preserved woods and forests in Italy, and housing a great heritage of flora and fauna: wolves and golden eagles among predators, and many species of ungulates. The forests and a number of natural habitats are the setting of the signs of the millenary human presence: small villages, mule tracks, and above all the two charming sanctuaries of Camaldoli and La Verna.
- The Tosco-Emilian Appenine National Park
Between Cisa and Forbici Passes, the forest separates Tuscany from Emilia giving way to a real mountain environment.
The tops of Alpe di Succiso, Mt. Prado, and Mt. Cusna overcome 2,000 meters, the forests give way to rocks, lakes, and high-mountain grasslands.
At lower altitudes, on the slope of Emilia, the surly Pietra di Bismantova dominates the landscape with its vertical walls. Appennino Tosco Emiliano National Park has an extraordinary environmental richness, from grasslands to blueberry moorlands to the steepest summits; and again lakes, waterfalls, stretches of water, rocky walls falling sheer above the streams; animals like wolves, mouflons, roe deers, golden eagles, and botanical rare species make the whole area a real natural botanic garden. The tourist value of this natural area is also given by quality products and services, excellent facilities for sports activities and relax.
The three Regional Parks of Tuscany are the Maremma Natural Park, the Alpi Apuane Park and the Migliarino, San Rossore Massaciuccoli Park.
- Maremma Natural Park
This park is surrounded by marshes, pine woods, cultivated fields and grazing lands.
Its area, delimited by the railway line Livorno-Roma, stretches along the Tyrrhenian coast from Principina a Mare to Alberese, and up to Talamone. The Park is characterized by important geographical elements such as the river Ombrone, the orographic system of the mountains of the Uccellina which reaches 417 meters of height in Poggio Lecci, the marsh area of the Trappola, and the coast which is both sandy and characterized by steep cliffs.
- Alpi Apuane Park
Alpi Apuane distinguish themselves from the near Apennine chain for their harsh morphology, their deep valleys, and their imposing and steep slopes. The Apuane are famous for the beauty of their marbles, their deep abysses, and the great cavities of the subsoil characterized by karst phenomena.
The geographical position of the massif, its exposure, and the different nature of the rocks determine the presence of varied environments which contribute to the floral and faunistic richness of the territory.
- Migliarino, San Rossore, Massaciuccoli Park
Migliarino, San Rossore, Massaciuccoli Regional Park was established in 1979. It covers over 24,000 hectares along the coast from Viareggio to Livorno. Although it lies in the middle of a strongly urbanized area, this territory has maintained considerable natural features. Here it is possible to find one of the rare examples of non-built coastline.