San Rossore estate

Riserva naturale Palazzetto (Parco Naturale Migliarino, San Rossore, Massaciuccoli)
Riserva naturale Palazzetto (Parco Naturale Migliarino, San Rossore, Massaciuccoli)
Located between the Arno and Serchio rivers, the sea and the Barbaricina district of Pisa, the San Rossore estate is a naturalistic oasis of great value. From Pisa it is possible to enter the estate through the long Viale delle Cascine, which starts near the Piazza del Duomo, and through via delle Lenze. Already from the fifth century this was a refuge area for the city, so much so that in the Middle Ages the churches of San Bartolomeo and Santa Maddalena and the monastery of San Luxorio, or Rossore, were built there. Only the latter had a longer life. In the fifteenth century the relics of the saint were brought to Florence and placed inside the reliquary carved by Donatello (today in the National Museum of San Matteo in Pisa). Both the Medici and the Lorraines used the park for hunting, or for agro-pastoral exploitation: the Ferdinandee farmsteads were built, today Cascine Vecchie and the settlement of pine forests with pine nuts began. The Lorraines, in the nineteenth century, built the Cascine Nuove, near the monastery, on the banks of the Arno, the Villa Granducale and the thoroughbred horse racing track. The Savoy family chose it as a summer residence. The park was equipped with modern facilities and the hippodrome became the real flagship. With the Second World War many of the buildings were destroyed, including the royal villa, the monastery, and the Gombo chalet. After being the property of the presidency of the Italian Republic, the park was transferred to the Region and the Park Authority.

Animals: the park is home to numerous tree and animal species, such as cows and fallow deer, mentioned since the 1300s. The wild boar was introduced by Elisa Baciocchi, while the wild rabbit by Vittorio Emanuele II, but the most curious case is certainly the one related to the dromedaries.
  1. The dromedaries of San Rossore: They were imported in 1622 by Grand Duke Ferdinando II de’ Medici and immediately found the estate to be a suitable habitat. In 1944 there were 234 dromedaries, used for work and in the transport of materials. Unfortunately, the Mongolian troops, allied with the Nazis, fed on dromedaries, their meat being a national dish, thus marking their extinction. After an attempt at their reintroduction, the dromedaries disappeared definitively in 1974 (one can be seen at the Natural History Museum of Calci, in Pisa). On the occasion of the Pisa Route 2014, the Scouts of Agesci donated 3 dromedaries to the park, where today they live undisturbed.
  2. The horses of San Rossore: As early as the eighteenth century, the horses present in the park were an indigenous breed. The horses live permanently in the stables of Barbaricina and train, or compete in the large racing track of San Rossore, at least since 1854.
  3. The Pisan bovine breed: A very valuable breed, better known as Mucco Pisano, bred in the San Rossore park and at risk of extinction. The popularity of the Mucco Pisano grew in the eighteenth century for its versatility, and its meat is one of the finest in Italy.

Racecourse of San Rossore: born in 1829 with Pietro Leopoldo II of Lorraine, it has been hosting the famous Pisa Prize race since 1885, a 1600m race reserved for three-year-old horses.

Activities in the park: the park offers a vast number of activities, including walking and cycling: thanks to the internal visitor centre it is possible to take a characteristic carriage ride, or train ride, or choose to embark on a boat for a charming lake journey up to the centre of Pisa and much more.

Info: The San Rossore park
The San Rossore Natural Park with its dunes and rich vegetation was the set of some scenes from these films:
  • Good Morning Babilonia (1987) by the Taviani brothers. Some scenes were shot in the San Rossore Natural Park.
  • L’amore ritrovato (An Italian Romance) (2004) by Carlo Mazzacurati with Stefano Accorsi and Maya Sansa. Based on the novel Una relazione by Carlo Cassola, the film is set in Tuscany in 1936, between Pisa, Livorno and Cecina. Some scenes were shot in the dunes of the beach inside the San Rossore Natural Park.