The idea of creating a dam on the Sieve river, in Bilancino on the Tuscan-Emilian Apennine, dates from the end of the fifties, in order to prevent the flooding of the Arno and to fulfil the demands for water from the nearby Florence. The idea started to become a reality only in 1978, years after the famous Florence flood. Work began in 1984, after many variations that included areas with recreational facilities, a hunting area and an area for water sports. The project, therefore, resulted in a veritable lake. The Bilancino lake, which was opened to the public in 1999, covers an area of about five square kilometres. It is one of Italy’s largest artificial reservoirs and is up to thirty one metres deep. As well as the beaches, the area includes a naturalistic oasis managed by WWF and many areas for hiking and mountain biking, as well as water sports such as canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing and sailing. How to get there: from Rioveggio take the A1 motorway towards Florence, and exit at Barberino di Mugello. After the tollbooth turn right at the first junction and right again at the roundabout (2 km).