A walk in Feniglia (Duna Feniglia Nature Reserve)
Easy destination to reach by car, easy to explore (on foot or by bike) and surprising for the amount of things that can be observed: I am talking about the Duna Feniglia Nature Reserve. On this wonderful day at the end of November, we decided to go there.
We are on one of the “tomboli” that links the Argentario to the mainland: the reserve is about 6/7 km long and covers an area of about 470 hectares. On one side we have the long sandy beach and the sea, and on the other the eastern lagoon of Orbetello.
The reserve is traversed along its entire length by a main dirt road, cut perpendicularly by paths that take you to the beach on one side and to the lagoon on the other, surrounded by vegetation.
Starting from the Argentario side of the trail, not far from the Forestry Corps post, there is an interesting (and educational) area dedicated to Batboxes (the “houses” for bats to control mosquitoes) and Bug Hotels (artificial shelters for insects to protect biodiversity and limit plant diseases). Not far away is the memorial sculpture of the painter Michelangelo Merisi, known as Il Caravaggio, who took refuge in this area and died shortly afterwards of malarial fever.
(For those interested, from 2019 the funerary ark containing his bones will be in a mausoleum tomb in the cemetery at Porto Ercole).
The walk is wonderful and regenerating! …as always happens when you are surrounded by vegetation: maritime pines, domestic pines, cork oaks, holm oaks, sea lilies, junipers and shrubs of the Mediterranean maquis. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to immortalise the fallow deer we spotted… so it’s up to you to do the job! (In the reserve there are also weasels, foxes, beech martens, badgers and skunks).
After about 4 km, we toss a coin in the air to find out our fate! Lagoon or beach?
Here we are ready to take one of the paths leading to the eastern lagoon. The colours and reflections of these “still” waters are very impressive. Along the way we find bird-watching posts. Many species of birds live or pass through here (the pink flamingo, the stilt-bird, the white heron, the osprey, the cormorant, etc.). The period is perfect for admiring the numerous pink flamingos that have been returning to the lagoon for a while. They look like a pink flame in the dark waters of the lagoon.
We can’t leave without admiring the sea… “sacrilege” on such a beautiful day!
In this season, trunks and branches brought in by the sea decorate the long strip of fine sand and emphasise its free and wild character. This characteristic is maintained even in summer (there are few bathing establishments, most of Feniglia beach is free).
We enjoy a long, pleasant break in the sun, sitting here and there on the logs, trying to store up as much light and warmth as possible… you know, such beautiful days are a gift and must be appreciated.
Arrival by car: from the Aurelia, exit Ansedonia – From the Argentario: follow the signs for Porto Ercole and, a couple of kilometres before, follow the signs for Feniglia.
Parking: convenient and free in autumn/winter.
Access to the Duna Feniglia Reserve is free. The reserve can be explored on foot or by bicycle.
Excursion suitable for everyone, as long as they enjoy walking/biking, also recommended for families with children.
Have fun and… see you next time with Ebe Montresor’s “Argentario Experience” column.