If you are travelling and following the Sun Highway (Autostrada del Sole), we advise you to take the exit for Orvieto: enjoy art, lose yourself in the underground city, visit the fascinating Well of Saint Patrick, gaze upon the splendid mosaic decorating the Cathedral façade, and then follow directions for the Oasis.
From the highway, take the E45, take the exit to Todi, after a walk in the centre and after having admired the Renaissance masterpiece Santa Maria della Consolazione, follow the flow of the Tiber river until the area of Alviano , where this authentic paradise of migratory birds is found.
The history of the Alviano Oasis started in the seventies, when, following the building of the Alviano barrier on the Tiber, aimed at producing electrical energy, an artificial lake was created. In a very short time the area started to attract many thousands of migratory water birds. To protect them, in 1977, a hunting ban was imposed on all the area that today is one of the WWF's biggest oases.
The typical marsh vegetation of sedges, rush and cannas, and the hydrophilic woods of willow trees, poplar trees and black alders make it an ideal habitat for rest or wintering; pochards, shovelers, widgeons, teals and gadwalls populate the marsh.
During the spring you can admire grebes, herons and passerines, but also woodpeckers and cuckoos. With the warm season's arrival the small ones fly in: dozens of red kites soar over the oasis and their chicks leave the nest.
More than 190 species have been counted, including non-migratory birds, mallards, Eurasian coots, white and grey herons, little egrets that, by following one of the main migratory route, encounter Alviano lake.
Through a ring-shaped 1.5 km path, accessible to visitors of all abilities, you can study marshland life: six observation hides, an educational room and a viewing tower, for an unforgettable view of everything, as if you were inside a splendid documentary.
If the weather allows it and if you are provided with the right equipment, you can venture onto the "old path": along the Tiber river and crossing an embankment you can complete a 7 km, almost totally flat path.
If you want to delve deeper into the treasures of biodiversity, the Oasis hosts one of the Umbria Region's centers of environmental education and sustainability. The educational laboratory has microscopes and stereoscopes allowing anyone, young and adult, to discover the "life in a water drop".
Bring your camera, of course: the Oasis offers a lot of favourable viewpoints for nature photography.
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