Tuscany's Lago di Bilancino is a fresh-water oasis where you can cool down and enjoy a day at the lake. It is the largest artificial lake in Tuscany, the result of a dam project that rewards Florentines with reserve water and gives Tuscans and tourists alike a place to splash in the water.

The irregular shoreline has some little beaches, mostly stony, alternating with the woods and scrub. There are abundant wildflowers that bloom in the surrounding landscape, and the lake is rimmed by green rolling hills. There is a section with a bar and beach establishment that provides water toys, like a floating pontoon and slide, along with chair and umbrella rentals. Snacks, meals and refreshments are offered, and you can try your skills at windsurfing, sailing or canoeing. Fishermen dot the shore all along the lake hoping to catch something for their dinner.

At the northeast point of the lake is the WWF nature preserve called Gabbianello, a wetlands habitat that also covers some mixed woods and attracts a host of migratory and water birds, such as crane, stork, geese, flamingos, swans and falcons.

The Lago di Bilancino is just a few minutes off the autostrada exit for Barberino di Mugello. The Outlets of Barberino are close by, to round out the day.

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