Fourth week in Tuscany

June 5-11, 2023

The fourth week of LIFE A-MAR NATURA2000’s sailing campaign traversed the Etruscan land of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, among Posidonia meadows, reefs and sea caves, where the very rare monk seal also finds refuge.

It is a unique and extraordinary landscape that surrounds the Tuscan Archipelago National Park: a marine area rich in biodiversity that embraces the stretch of sea stretching between Livorno and the Argentario promontory. It was precisely these crystal-clear seas that welcomed the elegance of “Lady Marianna,” one of five boats made available by Lega Navale Italiana, to discover the most pristine seabed and the beauty of the seascape of this stretch of the Tyrrhenian coast.

The Tuscan Archipelago National Park, one of the three parks co-financing the project, is included in the International Sanctuary for the Promotion of Marine Mammals and, within its more than 614 square kilometers of seaward extension, encloses as many as 18 Natura 2000 sites of which 6 are also marine to which the area dedicated to the protection of the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) was recently added. In this paradise among Posidonia oceanica prairies, coral reefs and underwater caves numerous species find their ideal environment, both among invertebrates and vertebrates among which the monk seal Monachus monachus deserves special attention, whose presence was reconfirmed in Capraia only in 2020 thanks to a chance sighting and subsequent monitoring and phototrapping in underwater cavities.

In addition to the bottlenose dolphins of considerable conservation interest, these waters are also home to the loggerhead sea turtle Caretta caretta, the greater shearwater (Calonectris diomedea), the Corsican gull (Larus audouinii) and the coral gull (Larus melanocephalus), to which are added numerous birds of prey and other birds that nest or stop on these islands during their migrations.

Among the land-based activities organized by Federparchi-Europarc Italy in collaboration with the PN of the Tuscan Archipelago, three free guided tours were held on June 6, 7 and 9 where, amidst beautiful sheer cliffs, the island was circumnavigated from the northern to the southern coast to admire some of the most fascinating and unspoiled features; and two participatory meetings, respectively on June 6 in Marciana and June 8 in Lacona, at 6 p.m., free and open to the public, during which issues of interest to the area were discussed, with the aim of raising awareness of a more responsible and ethical use of the wonders of our Mediterranean.

The marine and coastal Natura 2000 sites we were able to visit were:

  • IT5160002 Isle of Gorgona
  • IT5160006 Isle of Capraia
  • IT5160013 Isle of Pianosa
  • IT5160014 Isle of Montecristo e Ant of Montecristo
  • IT5160021 Protection of the Tursiops truncatus
  • IT51A0024 Isle of Giannutri
  • IT5160019 Reef of Portoferraio