Massaciuccoli is the name of both a town and a lake in Tuscany. The town of Massaciuccoli lies on the eastern edge of the lake formed from river Serchio; the better known Torre del Lago Puccini lies on the opposite side. Torre del Lago's famous Puccini Festival keeps that side of the lake hopping, but if you like quiet, a nice little Roman archaeological site, an inexpensive hotel that serves good food, and even birdwatching, this little corner of watery paradise might just be for you.
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Massaciuccoli, as you can see on the map, is near the coast, and yet sits on the wetlands surrounding a fresh water lake. Lucca is nearby.
Recommended Place to Stay in Massaciuccoli
Hotel Ristorante le Rotonde - is a recently restored resort hotel just a couple of minutes walk from the "oasis" of the lake, where you can visit a small museum, then take off on a hike on raised trails above the lagoon. Good solid Tuscan food is featured in the restaurant, and it's a short walk to the Roman villa and other Roman archaeological sites in town. They can arrange trips on the lake for you.
Another option for those wishing to explore this interesting corner of Tuscany is to rent a vacation house for a week or more to visit Lucca and the Garfagnana as well as the coastal areas of Versilia like Massaciuccoli. HomeAway lists over 1000 rentals in the area: Lucca Area Vacation Rentals.
Lipu Massaciuccoli Bird Watching Nature Sanctuary - You can park here and visit the small ecological museum and then take off on the raised trails over the marshland. Numerous bird blinds are found at the intersection of the marshes and the lake, where, in the early morning and evening, you can see numerous bird species that use the lake.
Lake Massaciuccoli is a very shallow lake, really the delta lands of the Sercio river that don't have an outlet to the sea, so the lake is maximum 2 meters deep.
Roman Villa - the villa sits high on the hill with a fantastic view over the lake. Remnants of Roman baths are visible. below the villa, in the white area on the map, there are current excavations of Roman Massaciuccoli taking place.
Massaciuccoli is a small town with a reasonably priced resort hotel that will allow you to spend a few days enjoying Italy like the Italians. You can hike on wooden walkways built above the wetlands in the Oasi Massaciuccoli steps from your hotel, bird watch from special blinds, visit a Roman villa with baths and a fine few of the lake, and then come home to a swim and a fine meal at your hotel.
Oasi LIPU Massaciuccoli Facebook Page (in Italian, but you can find events and activities there).