With its approximately 15 km of narrow unspoilt green belt between the white beaches and the Maremma countryside, the Tomboli di Cecina Nature Reserve extends over 430 hectares, with a width ranging from 100 m to 600 m. The built-up area of Marina di Cecina splits the vast coastal forest into two areas, which would otherwise be continuous, the Northern Tombolo and the Southern Tombolo. The vegetation pushes to the limit of the sand where there are natural dunes as high as 6-7 m.
The history of the forest started at the initiative of Grand Duke Leopoldo, who, in 1839, decided to construct, at his expense, a forested barrier to protect the hinterland crops from the sea winds. In 1859, a very beautiful wild pine forest was thus found here. In that year, the green area was also assigned to the State Forestry Administration which undertook to develop it and continue planting until the woods reached its present-day expanse.
Its original function is still very valuable, but its recreational function and tourist attraction can be added to it.
Visitors are offered educational trails to teach the importance of respecting the vegetation and researchers have the opportunity to conserve the biodiversity of the plants.
Flora Typically halophilic (i.e. adapted to the salty conditions given the sea winds) plants grow close to the sea, whilst inland there are various species of juniper. If you go further inland, you will encounter a band of maritime pines and small bushes that act as protection for the domestic pines behind. Unfortunately, the former band, about 20 m wide, is in the process of disappearing leaving the more delicate trees exposed to the sea.
There are various low-growing species typical of Mediterranean vegetation in the undergrowth, to which can be added privet, helichrysum and European euonymus plants. In the winter, vast swathes are coloured with the hues of the cyclamens that are typical of the Southern Tombolo.
Fauna Despite the limited width of the green area, the Tomboli di Cecina is an ideal habitat for some species of animals to stop temporarily and reproduce. It is easy to chance upon rabbits, squirrels, hedgehogs and porcupines. Other mammals present are the fox and the weasel. There are many species of forest and nesting birds which stay here temporarily, especially in summer; others spend the winter here. As for insects, one can mention the lepidopter and the beetle. Reptiles and amphibians are also widespread.
Enjoyment Teaching tours have been prepared inside the Tomboli di Cecina from the set route such as the one in the Arboretum which is especially frequented by school children and fitted with descriptive posters of more representative plant species. You will also find paths suitable for trekking, walks and running: a real paradise for lovers of the outdoors.
The La Buca del Gatto Hotel is fortunate to be immersed in this relaxing and healthy environment and, consequently, it is committed to respecting the rhythms and the delicate balance in every way so as to guarantee that future generations will benefit from this heritage. In exchange, it has the chance to be blessed with the unique scents and aromas arising from the combination of the sea winds and the fragrances released by the plants and flowers in the pine forest.
It is a magical place that gives fresh sensations of relaxation and wellbeing and, if we add to this the services offered inside the Hotel, it becomes the ideal paradise for your family holidays on the Etruscan Coast.