It covers about 1800 hectares between the Province of Firenze and Pistoia, the Padule of Fucecchio constitutes the biggest interior Italian Marsh touching the Municipalities of Cerreto Guidi and Fucecchio.
It has been known since antiquity as an unhealthy and dangerous area, so that historical sources recall how the great military leader Hannibal lost an eye there and almost all the elephants in his march to Rome. In the Renaissance Cosimo I de’ Medici was interested in this important hydrographic basin and built the Chiusa di Ponte a Cappiano – Sluice of Ponte a Cappiano – (still visible in the namesake hamlet of Fucecchio Municipality) to regulate the waters height and thus to be able to use to the best also this part of the territory for cultivations and river connections. Then, not only the particular environmental conditions that attract many bird species, made the Padule a perfect area for hunting leaving from the nearby Villa Medicea of Cerreto Guidi.
Today the Padule is one of the last shelter for numerous marsh plants and it offers great attractions for birdwatchers, especially during the springtime when it is possible to observe many of the 150 bird species including the herons, the black-winged stilts and the black stork.
Inside the protected area you can choose one of the 9 naturalistic itineraries marked to walk leaving from Castelmartini where is located the Centro di Ricerc, Documentazione e Promozione del Padule (Center for Research, Documentation and Promotion of the Padule), which regularly organizes guided tours, research and environmental education programmes.
To find out more: www.zoneumidetoscane.it