An age-old love story
On November 17th 1559, Cosimo I dei Medici promulgated a decree
to safeguard the woods: it was the first known environmental law.
Among other provisions, the ban forbade the cutting and trimming
of trees and other vegetation for one mile on both sides of the
mountain ridge, as a barrier against gusty winds and to prevent
landslides in case of heavy rain.
The protection of the natural environment obviously has very deep
and long-established roots in the Mugello countryside.
The forests, rivers, streams, lakes and lush countryside of this
still unspoilt corner of Tuscany welcome visitors to spend an open
air holiday and rediscover the harmony lying in the relationship
between man and nature.
The best way to come into contact with nature is exploring on foot,
by bike or on horseback the many tracks and white roads of the Mugello
oasis at the heart of Mugello
But for children of all ages, Mugello also provides the extraordinary
opportunity of a visit to the Gabbianello natural 'Oasis', a wetland
area of about 25 hectares (8 of them covered in water) in the vicinity
of the hamlet of Galliano 5 Km from Barberino di Mugello.
The nature reserve stretches on the north-eastern banks of the Bilancino
lake and is an invaluable asset for the preservation and study of
wildlife as well as a major attraction for educational purposes
and for recreational and social activities. Launched in 2004 after
8 years of works, this important nature reserve is managed for the
WWF by a local cooperative and its is classified as ANPIL (Local
Territory Reserve) by the Tuscan Regional Systenm for Reserves and
The Gabbianello Oasis brings visitors in touch with a wetland habitat
of great natural interest for the high number of both sedentary
species (ducks, mallards, garganeys) and migratory birds.
The most prized wetland species for birdwatching enthusiasts include
bitterns, wild geese, white storks, flamingoes and blackwinged stilts,
while the sky abounds in birds of prey such as kestrels, buzzards,
ospreys, marsh and hen harriers.
Gabbianello is set in a tipically Tuscan natural environment, surrounded
with magnificent forests, grazing areas and fields farmed with
grown-ups and children
The Oasis is a favourite destination for tourists, day-trippers
and families. It is possible to arrange guided visits with qualified
environmental guide, and then stop in the pleasant meadow overlooking
the lake in front of the visitors' centre for a picnic or to enjoy
Hiking in the woods
Nature enthusiasts will find also elsewhere in Mugello many comparatively
rare floral and animal species. Fauna such as deer, boars and mounflons
are often sighted; wolves are also back, and even eagles can be
seen circling above the state-owned protected area of Giogo-Casaglia.