Cala Violina and Lago dell’Accesa

With temperatures reaching as high as 40°, Lucy Wood and family decided on a day out ... destination swim!

Fully acknowledging that being August both roads and beaches would be populated, we set off in search of places to cool down – August has recorded some of the hottest temperatures ever. Our destinations are both in the Provincia di Grossetto: 
Cala Violina is just over a two-hour drive from Cortona (110 Kms), situated between Punta Ala and Follonica, going first along the superstrada to Grossetto and then down wonderful winding roads through pine forests, olive groves, fields of sunflowers, and harvested grain. It’s necessary to book both the parking (€10 for the day) and the beach (€1 per person) for Cala Violina – as they cap it at 700 people a day in August.
Rightly so, as the ‘beach that plays an ancient melody’ as it’s known – with the grains of quartz that play a melody as you take each step – is situated in the Mediterranean scrub of the Scarlino nature reserve. Fortunately you can only get there by foot (1.5 Km stroll through pine forests from the parking) or bike or private boat.
Cala Violina bay
There’s a small kiosk for the essentials (usual - not very interesting - panini, acqua, etc), but our preference was to take our own picnic and just finish off with coffee at the kiosk.
Despite being August, the water was refreshing, clean and inviting. The beach was busy – but we were still able to find our own niche away from it all and soak up some sun intermittently with the dip we had come in search of. This was our first visit – and we had our minds set on cooling off – but we learned of the possibility of boat tours and a wide range of fishing villages and tourist attractions to explore next time, perhaps out of the height of the tourist season.
Only about half an hour’s drive from Cala Violina, we arrived at Lago dell’Accesa – another welcomed dip in a fresh water lake.
Lago dell'Accesa
It’s a small 14-hectare, 50 metre deep lake, surrounded by oak forests. Since 2001, the entire area surrounding the lake has become an archaeological park, and you can visit the foundations of an ancient Etruscan settlement dating back to the 7th century B.C., with easily accessible paths and panels that explain its history. The lake is adorned in legends, one of which explains how the lake was created on 26 July 1218 by swallowing up peasants and their carts laden with harvested wheat as a punishment for the owner for failing to respect the day dedicated to St. Anne, the patron saint of reapers.
Swim jetty
We will for sure return as the area has plenty more to offer, and we were a little side-tracked by the summer’s heat.
Lucy Wood, 26/08/2021 12:21:21
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