At only 10 kilometers away from ‘Il Cicalino’ lies the Lago dell’Accesa Lake Accesa – a small but delightful lake situated in the midst of woods, cultivated fields and pastures, lying between the yellow colour of the wheat and the bright green of the Tuscan Maremma fields.

An on-site trip there is highly recommended to anyone who wishes to get to know the beautiful Tuscan countryside and its history.

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A JEWEL NESTLING AT THE FOOT OF THE METAL BEARING HILLS

Lake Accesa lies at the southern tip of the town of Massa Marittima. Its origins are mainly unknown but recent studies have classified it as a chasm created by the sinking of the ground due to the presence of an underground spring.

The river Bruna emerges from this freshwater lagoon, which then proceeds down to the Tyrrhenian Sea a few kilometers away. The lake has an average depth of 20/30 meters and is surrounded by rushes and shrubs, which grow near its banks.

The area of Lake Accesa covers 14 hectares. Thick holm oak and oak woods surround it and it stands at the centre of a particularly interesting area, both from a naturalistic and an archaeological point of view. Many visitors from all over Europe come to see it every year, attracted by its beauty and by its cool waters, delightful on hot summer afternoons.

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THE HISTORY OF THE LAKE

Lake Accesa, even many centuries ago, was always appreciated for its glorious surroundings. In fact, the Etruscans settled in this area around the 6th century B.C thanks to the presence of mineral deposits such as lead, silver, gold and other iron materials.

Right close to Lake Accesa, these Etruscans founded a small mineral district that would have dominated the lagoon from the height of its overhanging hillock and it probably was connected to the nearby town of Vetulonia: in the natural park that embraces the whole area, you can still see the remains of ancient buildings and burial grounds. Moreover, blast furnaces of the Roman and Medieval periods were also found.

The interruption of mining activities coincided with the start of the land reclamation work undertaken by the Lorena family in the 18th century, which unfortunately also meant that the size of the lake was considerably diminished, all to the advantage of the surrounding agricultural activities.

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THE NATURAL PARK OF LAKE ACCESA

Starting in 2001, the area surrounding the lake was converted into a theme park totally dedicated to the Etruscan civilization; it can be visited on foot at any time of the year.

The archaeological site is divided into five areas, all cut through by paths with signs and panels on which the characteristics of the ancient built-up areas and the buildings that they were made up of are illustrated. Furthermore, the stone foundations, the ovens in which the minerals were proceeded, the draining systems and the Etruscan necropolis are still visible.

The various archaeological and historical finds are exposed at the nearby archaeological museum of Massa Marittima.

However, the ‘star’ of the park is undoubtedly Lake Accesa, with its clear waters that invite you, in summer, to take a regenerating splash. On the edge of the lake there are also two small but enchanting beaches made up dark and fine sand, on which you can lie and relax after a short walk…a true delight.

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LEGENDS

Over the years, Lake Accesa has been part of various well-known legends, often originating from the lake’s very unusual name (the lake that lights up), but also due to the presence of Etruscan finds and due to the lake’s abnormal depth.

One of these legends recounts of when, in ancient times, the lake did not yet exist and when, where it lies today, there was a vast field of grains and cereals. The field’s owner, a gentleman named Turco, ignored the celebrations in honour of Saint Anne, patron saint of harvesters, and ordered his peasants to continue working even on the day dedicated to the saint herself, the 26th July. The legend tells that, exactly on that day, peasants and oxen were swallowed up by water. The ground began to crumble under their feet and an enormous chasm engulfed everything and everyone, including the houses, the peasants and their fields. Large flames leapt out of this abyss and were extinguished only later by torrential rain.

Just a few minutes later, where there were once dwellings, farmyards and the gathered harvest, a dark lake appeared that gave out reddish flashes. The legend insists that even today, if you go to the banks of the lake on 26th July, you may hear the singing of the peasants, the bellowing of the oxen and the ringing of the bells which once animated the ancient village.

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