Laguna di Orbetello (english version) | WWF Italy

Laguna di Orbetello (english version)

© A. Agapito Ludovici
The WWF Oasis of Orbetello is the most important lagoon of the Tiyrrhenian sea.
Due to its geographical location the WWF Oasis of Orbetello sees the concentration of thousands of birds, especially in winter.
The WWF Oasis of Orbetello is the most important lagoon of the Tiyrrhenian sea. Here it is possible to see the common stilt that in 1964 inspired Fulco Pratesi and Hardy Reichelt’s actions to create one of the first WWF protected areas. For WWF, Orbetello is a historical Oasis as well as one of its most famous and important protected areas.

About Orbetello Lagoon

Lagoon, Mediterranean maquis, coastal dune, meadows, pine-wood... The Oasis of Orbetello is the perfect habitat for many species of birds.
A wetland of international importance (Ramsar Convention) the Oasis of Orbetello protects 300 hectares of salty lagoon where at times small silt islands covered with swamp vegetation emerge. The Tombolo della Giannella that runs along the coast is covered by a luxuriant Mediterranean maquis while inside the lagoon there is a large carpet of clasping leaved sea purslane. Further inland there are woods of aspen, cork oaks, ash and elms. Southward is the Patanella Woodland characterised by large extension of heather. Its extension is about 850 hectares.

Flora and Fauna

The Orbetello lagoon Oasis is characterised by three main habitats: Mediterranean maquis dominated by mastic, phillireas, myrtle and strawberry trees; dune vegetation including rushy wheat grass, othanthus maritimus, European beachgrass, medicago marina, sea hollyand sea daffodil; and by a lagoon area with a large carpet of clasping leaved sea purslane.

The conservation status and position along the migratory routes favours the concentration of thousands of birds, especially in winter, like flamingos, common stilts, great egrets, grey herons, ospreys, northern shovelers, Eurasian spoonbills, pied avocets etc. Furthermore, the Oasis of Orbetello is also the only breeding site of the common tern and little tern along the Tyrrhenian coast.
Exceptional is the presence of the rare tiger beetle Cicindela majalis. In addition to Orbetello the species is found exclusively in the Camargue (Rhone delta, France).
In the Orbetello nature reserve it is quite easy to spot tracks of several mammal species including the Red Fox, the Badger and the Porcupine.

Visiting the Laguna di Orbetello nature reserve

The Oasis of Orbetello includes three itineraries:
•    The first trail is a birdwatching path. It is accessible from September to April either independently or with a tour guide; along this path are 9 hideouts for birdwatching. The path is about 1.2 km long.  
•    The second trail leads into Patanella Woods. The path includes some observation points and is about 1km long. Accessible all year long through advance booking (guided tours available).
•    The third path is a hiking trail that connects the visitor centre (Ceriolo) to Patanella woodland: the path  is about 3 km and crosses various habitats.  Accessible year-round by booking a guided tour.
There is also a small nature trail next to the Giannella farmhouse where it is possible to see an exhibition on wetlands and the butterfly garden.
Paths are equipped with information boards that provide information on the oasis and species identification guidelines.
Orbetello Oasis is managed by WWF Italy in collaboration with the Italian Ministry for the Environment; part of the area is owned by WWF Italy.


The Giannella farmhouse hosts the Environmental Education Centre (Centro di Educazione Ambientale – CEA) “Aurelio Peccei” with a conference room, classrooms, educational laboratories and theme-based shows.
At the CEA “green weeks” or permanent activities for school groups are organised. Moreover, during the months of June, July and August summer camps or holidays for both youngsters and families take place.
For further information call or e-mail to: 0564.898829 or
At the Giannella farmhouse there are guest rooms for about 60 people giving school groups the opportunities to participate in  different activities. Part of the energy used by the buildings derives from photovoltaic panels.
During summer the guest rooms hosts summer camps and “green weeks”.
The guest room service is active for groups on reservation or in conjunction with special events organised by the Oasis.

History of Laguna di Orbetello Oasis

From the discovery of the nesting common stilts to the extension of the Oasis with the aid of partners and private donations:
  • In 1965 Fulco Pratesi and Hardy Reichelt discovered that the rare common stilt was nesting again in the Orbetello Lagoon and launched a campaign to save the species;
  • In 1971 the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs created  the protected area;
  • In 1977 the area was designated a wetland of international importance according the Ramsar convention.
  • In 1980 the presence of more than 10.000 wintering ducks led to the creation of a State Nature Reserve;
  • In 1988 Orbetello lagoon became a provincial nature reserve;
  • In the meantime WWF acquired Patanella woodland and later a small pond with a semi-arid meadow;
  • In 2000 a forest campaign led to the acquisition of a further 100 hectares.

conctat information and opening times

The protected area is open from September 1st to May 1st .

Visitors are welcome to visit the nature reserve on their own  on Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm. Starting point at Ceriolo. Closing time 3,30 pm.

Guided tours for groups and school groups to the Oasis of Orbetello are available every day on booking.
Inside the protected area, the Patanella Woodland can be visited every day. Guided tours are available with advance booking.

Phone number: +39  0564 870198 or +39 320 8223972




The Oasis of Orbetello Lagoon is in Tuscany, along the Tyrrhenian coast in the municipality of Orbetello (GR).
Main entrance at Km 148 of the S.S. n.1 “Aurelia”.

By Train: Get off at the Albinia or Orbetello stations.

To the Giannella farmhouse (Envoronment Education Centre “A. Peccei”) exit the S.S.  n. 1 “Aurelia” and follow directions for Porto Santo Stefano – Orbetello then take the “Giannella” for 4 Km.


Places to visit

We suggest you also visit the other beautiful WWF protected areas around Grosseto: Lago di Burano (Burano Lake) and Bosco Rocconi (Rocconi woodland), Porto S. Stefano marine biology aquarium Tombolo della Feniglia Nature Reserve, the Maremma Regional Park, the city of Cosa Archaeological Museum, the Tagliata Etrusca and Giglio Island.

Overnight stays and restaurants

Hotel – Restaurant “La rosa dei Venti” v. Aurelia Sud km 108 Albinia, phone +39 0564 870191.