Massaciuccoli is the name of both a town and a lake in Tuscany along the Versilia coast. It's Tuscany's largest lake. 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 and villa with a view, an old fashioned yet refurbished resort hotel that serves great food, and a little birdwatching along the walk-on-water raised walkways, this little corner of watery paradise might just be for you.
It's an easy walk to the lake from anywhere in the town of Massaciuccoli. When you reach the Oasi LIPU Massaciuccoli (marked on the map), you can visit the little museum or walk the raised walkways across the wetlands on the boundary of the lake.
Massaciuccoli, as you can see on the map, is near the Tuscan coast, and yet sits on the wetlands surrounding a fresh water lake. Lucca is nearby.
The Area archeologica Massaciuccoli romana is the Roman part of town. You see the covered parts of it on the map (you can easily spot the gleaming white tent over the fragile parts of the excavated Roman town on the north side of Via Pietra Padule al Sasso. The little museum is on the other side of the street.
Recommended Places to Stay (and eat) 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.
Ristorante Le Terme on the main drag, 1, Via Pietra a Padule, is a great place for fish, expecially the fritto misto and the Spaghetti allo scoglio in bianco (Spaghetti of the shoals, shellfish in a sauce without tomato). There is also pizza. Osteria Le Terme Facebook Page.
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. VRBO 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.
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