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Type of protected area - Where it is located
Typology: Protected Natural Area of Local Interest A.N.P.I.L .; established with L.R. 49/1995; WWF oasis.
Provinces: Massa-Carrara, Lucca
The Protected Natural Area of Local Interest (A.N.P.I.L.) Lago di Porta is located in the municipalities of Montignoso (MS) and Pietrasanta (LU). The area occupies an area of 159 hectares, with a wetland area (Lago di Porta) and an area with Mediterranean vegetation (Rupi di Porta). It is part of the Regional System of Protected Areas of the Tuscany Region (L.R. 49/95) as a Protected Natural Area of Local Interest (A.N.P.I.L.). The area is also classified as a Z.P.S. (Special Protection Area) and therefore falls within the Natura 2000 network according to directives 79/409 / EEC and 92/43 / EEC. The management is entrusted to WWF Massa in collaboration with the Municipalities of Montignoso and Pietrasanta and other entities.
Porta lake (photo David Puccioni http://sira.arpat.toscana.it/sira)
The protected area involves a coastal lake wreck at the base of the Apuan foothills, with vast reeds and plain woods, it also includes an interesting system of cliffs bordered by Mediterranean scrub. The term lake, which reminds us of the origin of the backyard pond, is not currently appropriate; it is in fact a blade of fresh water, largely covered by reeds, inside which there are small surfaces of free water (the so-called clear). The water supply is guaranteed, even in the summer season, by hot water springs (17 ° C) which arise at the foot of the hills behind. The hygrophilous forest, the wet meadows and several ditches develop at the edge of the reeds. The great variety of environments and micro-habitats available allows the life of many characteristic and ecologically specialized animal and plant species. The Municipal Administration of Montignoso has entrusted the management of the protected area to WWF and Legambiente.
History of the area
The lake area was an important military and transit area; squeezed between the hills and the coastal marshes, it became an almost obligatory passage for travelers who were forced to pay duties and tolls here. An iron door built by the noble Beltrame where the lake joined the mountain, gave the area its name. In medieval times the place was crossed by the Via Francigena; near the door several buildings, including the S. Maria chisina and the Albergo-Osteria di Porta which gave hospitality to travelers and pilgrims. Since the 14th century the lake has been remembered for its excellent quality and abundance of fish; the adjacent territories were indicated with specific names according to their use: the meadows or meadows were intended for grazing cattle; the straw for the collection of hay, falasco, rushes and other marsh species; the fields for the cultivation of cereals, olive trees, poplars, vines, mulberries and fruit trees.
Flora and fauna
The apparent uniformity of the cane thicket hides an incredible wealth of birdlife. In fact, it is frequented by numerous birds, including gray lairone, coot, moorhen, porciglione; in this environment nest the marsh hawk, some ducks (dip, mallard), the bittern, several passerines (river nightingale, chestnut forapaglie, cannaiola, cannareccione, salciaiola, basettino). In spring and autumn, the area becomes a resting and feeding place for many migratory birds (egret, tufts, red heron, night heron). Lake Porta is one of the 4 Tuscan sites constantly occupied, during the nesting period, by the bittern, a rare heron.
Where the soil is drenched with water, the most common plants are sedges; their long, slender leaves were used to stuff flasks and demijohns. During the good season, in these wet meadows it is easy to observe a large amount of insects, including colorful dragonflies and the rare Lycaena dispar butterfly.
In wooded areas we find black alders, different species of willows, white and black poplars, typical species of the hygrophilous woods that represented one of the peculiar components of the Versilian coastal landscape. The undergrowth is rich in plant species such as elderberry, sanguine, sedge, yellow iris, angelica silvestre, In the eastern part of the protected area, part of the forest remains flooded until late spring, creating a very suggestive environment, where some amphibians reproduce, such as the green frog, the Dalmatian frog, the crested newt. The great spotted woodpecker lives in the wood, a species linked to the presence of old trees.
In the clears, ditches and rivers of the area there are several species of amphibians (including the common toad and the green frog), reptiles (water snake, marsh tortoise) and fish (pike, carp, tench, eel, gambusie, etc.). In spring the bee-eaters arrive in the area, water birds with bright colors, which dig the nest along the banks of ditches and rivers; a habitual inhabitant of the area is the kingfisher. On the sheltered trees the pendulum nest is sometimes visible, with a typical flask shape.
Information for the visit
How to get there:
The area can be reached from Pietrasanta (LU) along the Via Aurelia until Montignoso (MS) where you turn towards Cinquale.
- Municipality of Montignoso
Town Hall Square, 1
Via Fondaccio, 11A
54038 Montignoso (MS)
- WWF Massa Carrara
- Legambiente Massa Montignoso
Source: Texts by Barbara Vietina