The evironment

Wild Nature to be discovered

The vegetation is low and intricate, consisting of shrubs, broom, wild garlic and sea fennel. It covers the rocks and goes up to the rocks that surround the island. Dry stone walls and almost invisible paths run through the surface. The air is warm, even if the wind is always cool, and at some times of the day, when the gusts of tramontana or maestrale become insistent, cut your face.

The limestone rocks that make up most of the soil are sharp and pointed, better to wear rock boots.

Among the endemic floral species the Limonio di Doria, Limonio delle Formiche di Grosseto with its spring blooms that cover the island with a violet mantle. Profusion of portulache, daffodils that bloom in January and February, the garlic of the islands with summer flowering. The tree wash that grows spontaneously with high density.

Then the curious Cocomero asinino, of an intense light green, whose fruit has the shape of a small thorny watermelon that, touched, lets out liquid and seeds.

Just take a tour of the island to realize that seagulls are the real masters of the Formica Grande. They arrive in November, when they form the pairs, in March they lay the eggs and in July, after the weaning of the chicks, they resume the sea to disperse between the Tuscan islands, Corsica and Sardinia. Despite their departure, the island remains a resident population.

Fabio says that “after a few days on the island I can understand exactly what they tell me“.

One of the beauties of a stay on the island is to be able to learn again to understand with our senses what nature wants to tell us with its voices, in its infinite nuances, something that is often forgotten in modern life.

The island is also inhabited by a couple of pairs of volpoche, a type of duck widespread in the Mediterranean that nest in the holes of the soil, and by a large colony of wall lizards, endemic to this site (podarcis sicula roberti).

There is a constant increase of the Gull (Larus cachinnans). La Formica Grande hosts a number of couples that, presumably, is close to the maximum allowed by its surface and its morphological and vegetational characteristics. It is now possible to assume that, for the settlement of a colony of Larus audouinii, Corsican Gull lacks physical space.

The island of Formica Grande is a unique site in the Tuscan Archipelago also for underwater exploration, especially for deep diving (over 70 meters). The sheer walls surrounding the island rise from a depth of more than 100 meters (enthusiasts should not miss the Zi Paolo shoal whose top reaches a depth of 5 meters) and it is frequent to observe large fish, such as snappers, bream and groupers; as well as forests of Gerardia Savaglia, known as false black coral: a polyp that colonizes the gorgonians making them white in color. Such a concentration is observed only here.