In Tuscany’s Grossetto area, there is a great place to visit in Tuscany and a great way to spend a day in Tuscany getting back to nature. It’s the Parco Faunistico in the Monte Amiata area.
Comprised of rocky paths crossing forest and fields rising up and rolling down the rollercoastered landscape, there are spectacular views of the surrounding Tuscan countryside in the surrounds.
Within the park, you may be lucky enough to spy different species of wild orchids, wild flowers, wild cherries, hawthorn, heather, Apennine wolves, wild boars, porcupines, deer and fallow deer, chamois, foxes, badgers, hares, goats, mountain goats, vultures, several species of birds, and ‘Micci Amiatini’ (a typical kind of Monte Amiata donkeys).
There is also a litter of kittens who call this place home, wisely staying near the picnic area and Restaurant area where they are well fed! It was from this area where we were lucky enough to spy our first wolf perched amongst the trees on the nearby hillside, watching down over us.
But our first sighting of the day occurred just as we entered.
I called over to the others that I could spy a deer. But alas it was just a small furry deer lying on its side, about 5 cm in size, a lost child’s toy. (Happily, we were later able to reunite the deer with his worried owner, a 4 year old boy who had lost his little ‘capriolo’ and was ever so grateful when we informed him of its whereabouts, secure in the knowledge that it had not stood up and wandered off into the wild his absence!)
There are lookouts posted throughout the park, and for the animals that are better to spy in the distance rather than meet face to face (such as the wolves) there are extensive fenced-off parklands for them to roam in the wild with various lookouts – or, look-ins as the case may be!
As we walked through the beautiful Tuscan parkland, we occasionally came across other visitors. At each passing, there was a friendly exchange of ‘Did you see the deer at the watering hole?’ or, ‘There are hares over there’ and even, ‘Can you see the wolf up there? He’s watching us!’
Each and every person there seemed to have re-discovered their inner child (not so hard for the children themselves) and were clearly showing their excitement at being so immersed in such a stunning and exciting scene of nature.
A very lovely couple in their 60’s were so thrilled to have seen some deer that they took us by the arm and walked us hurriedly to the sight.
Soon thereafter we stumbled upon a mountain goat. First there was one then another joined him (or her), and then a third and fourth all gathered for lunch on a thorny yet clearly appetizing bush. We were delighted at having seen this wonderful animal, but decided it was time to move on when one decided they wanted to come up and greet us face to face. After all, have you seen the horns on those things?!
We also saw deer (real, live ones this time!), and were even able to pat the adorable Micci Amiatini donkeys.
It costs just a few euro per person to enter the Parco Faunistico, and in around 3 hours or so you should be able to cover the 6.5 km circuit. As you enter, you receive information on what you may see and how best to see it. There is a map, as well as detailed written instructions for the less map-able amongst us, including instructions on how to best find the animals and sights you want to see (e.g.: the remains of an ancient church), and avoid those you may not (e.g.: the cave filled with bats!).
Signs along the way also indicate which animals you should be looking out for in which areas.
The park management states that ‘this park has been designed to educate, help get to know, study and conserve.’
All in all, it is a great thing to do in Tuscany, a wonderful way to get back to nature, as well as being an economical day out in Tuscany. Perfect for families with children, and a great way to get some exercise in Tuscany, which you may need in the land of fantastic food and wine!
If you would like to immerse yourself in the Tuscan countryside a little closer to civilization, and still be part of the scenery that has inspired so many great artworks, we have a small-group single-day Best of Tuscany tour visiting Siena, San Gimignano and Monteriggioni, and stopping for lunch and wine tasting at an award-winning wine estate. See the highlights of Tuscany in one spectacular day tour from Florence – Best of Tuscany small-group tour.
A great afternoon activity offering wonderful views, including a visit a Tuscan villa can be had on the Taste of Tuscany at the Villa wine tour. Explore the historic wine estate before undertaking a wine tasting. Tread through the terrain, enjoying spectacular views of the Tuscan countryside up-close and personal.
If you are a morning person (or at least jet lag is making you so!), you will enjoy our wonderful stroll through the Tuscan countryside, join us for a Perfect Morning in Tuscany small-group walking tour. Leaving from Florence’s city centre and heading to the surrounding countryside, this small-group walking tour includes, well, walking in Tuscany, as well as lunch with wine at a stunning Renaissance Villa Estate, accompanied by an expert tour guide.
If you are looking for some other great things to do in Tuscany to enjoy local cuisine, explore the Tuscan countryside in a small group, taste Tuscan wine and the like, we have a great range of small-group Tuscany tours.
To explore more areas of Italy, can check out our Artviva Walking Tours website to read more about the tours we have to offer in Florence, Rome, Venice, Cinque Terre, Umbria, Naples, Pompeii and more. We also have a great range of fantastic private tours that cater to your every desire. From Florence (and Tuscany) to Rome, Venice to the Cinque Terre and beyond, we are at your beck and call.