Beach of Collelungo - Maremma Natural Park

Beach of Collelungo - Maremma Natural Park

Since 1975 the South of Tuscany is a natural protected area called “Parco Regionale della Maremma”.

This part of the region is “crowded” with history, starting from etruscan and roman age when people who lieved there tried to transform that marshland, reach of stale morass and very insane for men and animals in a cultivable land.

The Park includes 25 acres most covered of maquis and ancient pinewoods, it is limited at north by the outlet of the Ombrone river and at south by Talamone’s cape. Except for the access – also limited – to the Alberese beach, in all the park’s territory motor vehicles are not allowed; all the visitors, hiking or biking, must remain on the trails: nobody inside the reserve can trample outside the official signed paths and disturb the cicle of the Nature, the grown of the plants and the life of the animals.

After they had buy the tickets, visitors can choose from 6 itineraries starting from Alberese and from 3 starting from Talamone (plus the Alberese beach that is free but with limited access).

Itineraries from Alberese:

A1 Abbey and Monastery of San Rabano

A2 Towers

A3 Caverns

A4 Cala di Forno (the word “forno” means oven… infact this beach is always sunny and hot)

A5+A6 Forest and Faunal Itinerary

The Towers – in Italian “Torri” – is one of the most suggestive path of the area because it allowes the visitors to have a high point of view over most part of the park’s territory.

The trail start with an inner tunnel through the high maquis of heather tree and strawberry tree.

The careful visitors will notice the print of the animals who popolate this part of the park: porcupines, the omnipresent boars, badgers and many others.

Somewhere the tunnel widen out and became a round space a diameter of about 12 feet characterized by black soil: they are the “piazze carbonaie”, the places where sapients hands built a kind of pyramids made of little pieces of wood, covered them with earth and musk and burnt them with a particular process to obtain coal.

After a 20 minutes walk you can notice on the left a fence with an explanatory panel, it is the overlook on the “cavalrymen plane” that is a panoramic terrace (be careful to the cliff!!!) where you can have a marvellous look on one of the place where in the past there was the grazing for the cows. All around there is the old pinewood where two different species of tree grow: the domestic pine that was planted in the ‘700 to obtain the kernel and the Aleppo pine that is original of this land. Sometimes in the plane you can notice boars, foxes or the white cows of Maremma with their big horns. On the left side we can see the tower and the beach of Cala di Forno and on the right the Ombrone’s estuary.

View from the Towers Itinerary of Maremma Natural Park

View from the Towers Itinerary of Maremma Natural Park

From here the trail go upway and become more difficoult and more heavy, the vegetation became lower, the maquis became reach of aromatic plants as elicrisum, rosemary and lavender.

In 20 minutes you will arrive at the top of the hill where the tower of Castelmarino is. You are on the top of the park (except for the A1 itinerary, but it is not so panoramic) and you are in front of the sea where, in the clear days you can see the profile of the islands of the Tuscan archipelago: Giglio, Montecristo, Elba and in some special days, in distance, you can see the Corsica Island.

From here we can also understand how the towers defence system worked. The role of the system is to advice for pirats approach to the coast, when the guard saw a vessel of enemies, he lighted a fire on the top of the tower (of dry wood during the nights, of wet wood during the light hours) and when the guard of the next tower saw the light or the column of smoke, would lighted a fire himself to advice the next towerguard and so on along all the coast till advice all the inhabitants that could hide themselves from the raid. Instead the guardians remained inside the towers where there was nothing interesting to stole and so they were safety: the tower’s entrances were not on the ground level but about 15 feet up in the wall – the guards used a removable ladder to get inside – and it would take to many time to draw them out.

Coming back to our excursion…. the next part of the trail present some difficult and it is not advised if it rains and if you don’t have suitable shoes (in any case you have to be careful and to go slow and if you don’t feel confortable, go back on the same trail you taked to go up, when you arrive at the asphalted street, you have to turn on the right and you will reach the beach).

The down way trail ends in a small plane with a fallen pine. From here you find signs that show the right way to reach the seaside. This part of the itinerary runs along the river bank where a lots of water turtles live.

If you are interested in botanics, during the short way to reach the beach, you have to notice the tipical pioneer plants that popolate the dunes, this is a very special and important environment.

The beach is spectacular: the rule for this unpolluted area is not to take out anything, so tree trunks carried in winter by the tides look white everywhere.

 

Maremma Natural Park - Collelungo Beach

Maremma Natural Park - Collelungo Beach

After a rest you have three possibilities to come back : the first is a long walk on the river of the sea till Marina di Alberese where a bus bring you back to Alberese just next to the Information Park House (double check of this possibility when you buy the park ticket and ask for the timetable).

If you want to spend the most time you can at the seaside sunbathing or swimming, you can go back straight to Pratini, the bus meeting point, leaving the beach from the same way that you use to come in and when you arrive at the first round square taking the asphalt street on the right. This street crosses a centenerary olive grove, marvellous and suggestive… its gardeners, the deers and the cows, give them the special foliage-profiles (in this case it will take 20/30 minutes to reach the bus stop).

Last but not least the third way to come back is to visit also the Collelungo tower. The trail to reach this tower is on the right (shoulder at the sea) of the limestone hill that you have in front of you. Turn around the hill and you will find the trail that go up way. It is short but steep, in a few minutes bring you to the tower. From here the trail continue on the right side, downway till reaching the olives grove from where you can easily reach the bus stop of Pratini.

 

You will have a marvellous day in Uccellina Park (this is the short name of this protected area), the colors and the parfums of the sea and the maquis will be an unforgettable part of your Tuscany journey!

 

Important note for the visit: because of the danger of fire in summer all the itineraries of the park are subject to special rules about the time of entrance and the needed of a guide, so before planning the visit ask me and/or double check at the Visitors Center.

Official website of the park: http://www.parco-maremma.it

For a guided Tour: contact
hiking@tuscanhiking.com
.

Two of the towers of the Park

Collelungo and Cala di Forno Towers - Maremma Regional Park

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