I have lived in Pisa since 1994, and yet I had never visited the Park of San Rossore until some friends invited us to go with them for a picnic on May 1st this year. The park is a popular destination for holiday picnics among the locals.
(Photo by Swisen72)
I had always heard that the park was an amazing resource, a vast green oasis only minutes outside Pisa. Indeed it is. It is also famous for its popular hippodrome.
(Photo by Swisen72)
The park of San Rossore covers an area of over 24,000 hectares (60,000 acres) and stretches along the coast of the provinces of Pisa and Lucca.
It is made up of several estates with very diverse features: the Estate of Borbone and the Maquis of Lucca, the Lake and Marsh of Massaciuccoli, the Marsh of Vecchiano, the Estate of Migliarino, the Estate of San Rossore, the Estate of Tombolo and the Estate of Coltano. Some of these estates are freely accessible, others (e.g. the estate of Migliarino) can only be visited if accompanied by a guide. Only part of the Estate of San Rossore is open to the public, and part of the Estate of Tombolo is a military zone.
(Photo by bene_romani)
(Photo by Roman_77)
The park can be visited on foot, on horseback, by bike, and also on a horse-drawn carriage.
The closest area to the city is the area of the Cascine Vecchie (which is where we went on May 1st). There are ample meadows for picnics or simply to lie in the sun. These areas are the most crowded on popular holidays: families spend the afternoon barbecuing, playing soccer, or simply having a drink.
(Photo by gP84)
Other areas of the park are wilder. Paths cut across thick maquis, woods, marshland and finally reach the unbuilt beach at Vecchiano, one of the few remaining stretches of unspoilt coastline in Tuscany and probably in the country.
(Photo by Zebet)
(Photo by FranzPisa)
The park has accessible paths, so it is a great destination also for disabled visitors and people travelling with young children in a stroller.
(Photo by francescaturchi)
(Photo by Marco Menu)
Make sure you have a good sun screen and mosquito repellent. The bugs can be annoying.