Lifelong Learning Programme

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Geographical Areas

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Oasis of Arnovecchio
Geography, Biology
The Arnovecchio nature reserve is located in the municipal district of Empoli (FI). To get there you must take the SGC Firenze-Pisa-Livorno and then take the exit Empoli Est. Go on towards Montelupo. After a few kilometres you find the crossroads to Fibbiana. The reserve lies two kilometres past Fibbiana centre.
The natural reserve is situated 30 km far from the Community Importance Site of Fucecchio Marshes which has the same morphological origin.
The area lies in a place where the Arno River once flowed. The original riverbed was modified in the XVI century and later in that site a gravel quarrying began to operate, which contributed to shape the morphology of the soil.
It is characterized by a mosaic of different environments that, though artificially created, underwent a spontaneous process of naturalization still in progress due to the gradual giving up of the productive activities.
In the nature reserve are two small lakes where a lot of species of waterbirds nest and find a shelter.
We can find the grebe ( Podiceps cristatus), the cormoran ( Phalacrocorax carbo), the little bittern ( Ixobrychus minutus), the coot ( Fulica atra), the king fisher ( Alcedo atthis) and the heron.
Among the birds linked to the marshy vegetation, we find the sandpiper, the moorhen, the cetti's wabbler ( Cettia cetti), and the Remix pendulinus. Surrounded by human environment, the area gives shelter to various species of mammals among which small rodents, the porcupine, the nutria, insectivores such as the hedgehog and the mole and carnivores such as the weasel, the beech marten, the badger and the fox. In the lakes are carps, pikes and gambusias.
Along the shores we have a rich vegetation of willows and poplars, in particular big trees of white willows. There is also a cane thicket full of marsh straws and a maze of annual and perennial herbal species.
In this territory a path was made to create a full access to visitors which allows the disabled to visit the reserve. There are illustrated signs that give explanations about plants and animals.
Four wooden huts facing the lake were built to observe the fauna and to birdwatching.
The signs also have touch panels for blind people with explanations in braille and bas-relief figures.


Wetland Wetlands play an important role as chambers of waterflows, shelters for biodiversity, air and water cleaner
Arnovecchio The Oasis of Arnovecchio is formed within an ancient meander of river Arno
Reeds At Arnovecchio the reeds create a large belt of vegetation, which is used as shelter by several species of birds
The white willow The white willow can be found along lake shores and bordering wet lands. It is exploited for extraction of salicylic acid - active principle of aspirin - , of tannin, and the production of dead wood - necromassa
White Poplar The white poplar, or Populus Alba, is the most majestic species among the fast growing riparian trees. In the ANPIL of Arnovecchio the white poplar is definitely a plant with high relevance for the landscape
Lombardy Poplar Populus Nigra, or Lombardy poplar, belongs to the group of Salinaceae and is to be found by rivers and lakes in wetlands
Foglia d'acero Primo piano della foglia d'acero, dalla forma particolare
Maple The maple is one of the most common trees growing in the Oasis of Arnovecchio


Goose flying The goose is an omnivorous bird but mainly feeds on insects, grubs, small fish and plankton in the water. It spends a great deal of time on the water and has special adaptations such as webbed feet which make its aquatic life easier. Geese are strong and hardy birds and are known to get to old ages, even in the wild. The average lifespan of a goose is between 20 and 30 years but a number of geese individuals have been known to live for much longer. Geese are known to have extremely strong wings as they migrate long distances every year to the warmer climates.
Hawk flying The hawk is a small to medium-sized falconiform bird, member of the genus Accipiter . Hawks can be found on the six major continents. Most species nest in trees, but some, such as the marsh hawk, nest on the ground in grassy places, and others nest on cliffs. They lay from three to six brown-spotted eggs. A long tail and short, rounded wings give these fast, low-flying birds great maneuverability.
Geese flying Geese are medium to large sized birds that can be found in Europe, Asia and North America. There are around 29 known species of geese around the world. Geese mate and build their nests in order to raise their baby geese in the north during the warmer summer months and the geese then migrate south in the winter to the warmer climates when the baby geese are strong enough to fly.


Flora of Arnovecchio

Overview of the main and peculiar plants present in the natural reserve of Arnovecchio

Fauna of Arnovecchio

Presentation of the most characteristic species of animals which populate the oasis of Arnovecchio