The Cecina River
The Cecina River from Berignone to Ponteginori
The wide riverbed of the Cecina river with its changing vegetation and gravel terraces on the riverside are a characteristic element of the landscape.
The important fluvial ecosystems are of particular naturalist interest, and present differing habitats such as river terraces, poplars and willows, while at the ‘Masso delle Fanciulle’ (Berignone Nature Reserve) the holophytic undergrowth houses numerous endemic species. The agricultural ecosystem of the river basin is a precious hunting ground for the short-toed snake eagles that nest in the surrounding woodlands. Amongst the other species of interesting birds is the lesser grey shrike, part of the traditional landscape, and the rare Eurasian stone-curlew, while in some parts of the river the European pond turtle can be found.
The Ritasso Stream
It is one of the most charming streams not only in the Monterufoli-Caselli Nature Reserve but in all the region, where an extraordinary nature dialogues with evident traces of human activities.
The opulence of the landscape is unique. In the heterogeneous woodland, rich in junipers and other Mediterranean species, a path follows the railway line that in the 1800s linked Casino di Terra with the lignite quarry in Villeta di Monterufoli, still visible are the amazing ruins of three bridges and the gully dug for the line.
The Strolla Stream
The source of the stream is above the Montenero Nature Reserve, in which over time it has cut a deep and narrow valley creating a bewitching landscape of naturalist value. It flows leaving behind it a series of charming falls and basins of luminous water, framed by opulent vegetation.
The Pavone Stream
The Pavone stream, of particular aquatic quality for most of its course, is one of the most spectacular streams in Tuscany. Upstream, borders briefly on the ‘Cornate-Fosini’ Nature Reserve after which it continues to the Cecina river, where for several hundreds of metres forms the border of the Berignone Nature Reserve.
Along its foot paths, one can admire woodlands, grazing pasture that lead to river crossings of rare beauty such as the one near the copper mine in Montecastelli.
The Trossa Stream
From a landscape point of view this stream is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular, thanks to the almost continuous holophytic undergrowth along the central part of its course.
The opulent vegetation, even in summer, along the stream sides together with the abundant flow even in the dry season (only upstream in the Monterufoli-Caselli Nature Reserve), represent a guaranteed attraction for visitors who undertake this trail of a medium difficulty.
The Adio Stream
About half of its course crosses the Monterufoli-Caselli Nature Reserve. It is a natural stream surrounded by thick vegetation with short stretches on rocks. The path that leads to the stream descends through woodlands rich in various kinds of vegetation and animals. The common wood pigeon can be found noisily flying in the valley of Adio and many are accompanied by the loud cry of the European green woodpecker. Wild boars are a common sight.
Of interest there is much to see along the stream but unfortunately there are no paths to get there; especially the beautiful waterfalls at the junction with Vallon Cupo, below the village of Libbiano.
The Sterza Stream
This stream has created waterfalls and cascades in areas of rare beauty, only reachable with a guide. Worth the visit also to see the deer and wild boars, present in the nature reserve.
The Fosci Stream
One of the main feeders of the Cecina river coming from the right hand side. It crosses the Berignone Nature Reserve, where it is joined by the water from the Sellate stream. It runs through an area characterized by both woodland (mainly holm oaks and turkey oak) and farmland typical of the Volterra landscape. Along its shores numerous hoof prints of animals from the Berignone Nature Reserve can be seen, such as deer, mouflon and wild boars. It is not unusual to witness the flight of common buzzards and kestrels, or a quick glimpse of common kingfishers, downstream you can easily meet grey herons.
The Sellate Stream
The most spectacular spots cannot be reached by the nature trails, but we recommend any tourist to visit the Castello dei Vescovi (Bishops’ Castle), to the south in order to admire the breathtaking valley covered by woodlands. Charming stretches of the stream can be visited thanks to a trail in the Berignone Nature Reserve. near the Bishops’ Castle, the Sellate Stream is joined by the water from the botro (dyke) al Rio, one of the most stunning spots in the Berignone Nature Reserve.