The wonderful Gulf of Baratti
Located in the center of the homonymous gulf, Baratti is part of the municipality of Piombino, in the province of Livorno. The Gulf of Baratti is one of the most beautiful sea areas in all of Tuscany. We are in the southernmost stretch of the Etruscan Coast, at the foot of the Populonia promontory, immersed in an almost uncontaminated nature that embraces a wonderful sea.
Baratti is a very small town and only during the summer there is a high number of visitors.
As mentioned, Baratti is located on the Etruscan Coast and in fact in ancient times there was one of the main Etruscan ports here, while nearby Populonia was one of the most important Etruscan cities of all. The Gulf of Baratti was for centuries an important port where ships carrying the iron minerals extracted on the Island of Elba docked.
Remains of these minerals came to cover the entire beach of the gulf which still today has a dark color which is partly determined by the iron extracted thousands of years ago. The archaeological excavations carried out since the end of the nineteenth century have made it possible to find various finds including the extraordinary silver amphora of the sixth century, renamed as the “Amphora of Baratti” which today is located in the Archaeological Museum of the territory of Populonia in Piombino.
What to do and what to see in Baratti
Those who go on holiday to Baratti do so mainly to relax by the sea, enjoy its beautiful beach and take a dip in the water. In the area, however, there are also many very interesting places to visit and if you are thinking of organizing a trip that combines the sea with culture, this is definitely a good place for you.
- Sea and beaches in the Gulf of Baratti
- What to see in Baratti
- What to see around Baratti
- How to get to Baratti
- Where to stay in Baratti
Sea and beaches in the Gulf of Baratti
For most of its three kilometers in length, the Gulf of Baratti is characterized by a beautiful sandy beach that slopes gently towards a sea that is second to none. Much of the gulf is free to access but there are also some bathing establishments along the beach. It is not a particularly wide beach, but being very long there is room for many people. In the northernmost part the sand is replaced by rocks while in the southernmost stretch, at the foot of the Populonia promontory, we find a small tourist port.
Behind the beach, the Mediterranean scrub and the pine forest alternate, forming a beautiful green setting around the gulf. The view from the beach is truly remarkable: at sunset you can enjoy fabulous romantic sunsets while on clear days you can admire the island of Capraia from afar.
Dog Beach of Baratti
In the Gulf of Baratti there is a stretch of beach where dogs can also be brought. The Dog Beach of Baratti is located in the stretch between the archaeological excavations of San Cerbone and the so-called “Casone”.
Centro Velico Piombinese – Baratti
Right in the middle of the gulf is the Centro Velico Piombinese – Baratti which organizes sailing courses especially for children and teenagers up to 18 years of age. The activities of the sailing center generally take place during the summer season, from June to September.
Baia del Pozzino
Continuing in the northern part of the gulf, just before Poggio San Leonardo, we find the small and pretty Baia del Pozzino. A real corner of paradise, this rocky cove is usually uncrowded and quiet. To reach it you will have to take a path that goes through the vegetation descending towards the cliff.
Buca delle Fate
Even if it is not located in the Gulf of Baratti, the nearby Buca delle Fate is also certainly worth a mention. This small cove is located a little further south than the gulf and can be reached by following a path that starts from piazzale del Reciso in the center of the Populonia promontory. The path goes through a dense forest and the beach is not at all equipped, so if you intend to go there, you will have to equip yourself properly. Once reached, the Buca delle Fate will repay you with its indisputable beauty and its crystalline sea. Its name derives from the presence of numerous Etruscan tombs that have been found in its vicinity, some of these are also visible along the path.
What to see in Baratti
With such an ancient history, inevitably in Baratti and its vicinity there are several things to see and interesting places to visit.
Torre di Baratti
Near the port, we find the fifteenth-century Torre di Baratti which was built with the function of sighting and defense of the coast. The tower is spread over three levels and is characterized by a square plan with a shoe base.
Cappella di San Cerbone
Also in the vicinity of the port you can also visit the Cappella di San Cerbone. The small chapel was built between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries on the site where a structure from the Lombard period already existed. The body of San Cerbone who was bishop of Populonia was once buried here.
A medieval cemetery with many burials was found in the area of the chapel. One of the buried bodies, which belonged to a woman, is now known as the Witch of Baratti. The hypothesis that the woman was considered a witch derives from the fact that she was found nailed to the ground and that some nails were also inserted into her mouth. They probably wanted to prevent her from getting up after her death and pronouncing spells.
In Baratti there is an unusual modern building of particular interest from an architectural point of view because it was a precursor of blob architecture. This is the Casa Saldarini, also known as The Dinosaur and The Whale, which was built by the architect Vittorio Giorgini in 1962. With its peculiar sinuous shapes, this house is considered the first example in the world of architecture made of an isoelastic mesh membrane and concrete. In the immediate vicinity, immersed in the same wood that surrounds Casa Saldarini, we also find the Casa Esagono, also built by Vittorio Giorgini in 1957.
Parco Archeologico di Baratti e Populonia
The Archaeological Park of Baratti and Populonia is certainly one of the things not to be missed if you visit this part of Tuscany. The park includes two necropolises, the industrial area where iron was worked and the acropolis. In Baratti you can visit the Necropolis of San Cerbone and the Necropolis of Casone and the remains of the quarters where the mineral to be transformed into iron was worked. Together with the Acropolis of Populonia, these sites offer an interesting opportunity to get in touch with the culture of the ancient Etruscan people.
What to see around Baratti
In addition to the aforementioned Populonia, in the vicinity of Baratti you can also go to Piombino where among other things there is to visit the archaeological museum where the extraordinary Baratti Amphora is kept. Going up the Etruscan Coast, you will come across seaside towns such as San Vincenzo, Marina di Cecina and Castiglioncello while in the hinterland there are Campiglia Marittima, Suvereto and Castagneto Carducci. Finally, if you want to have a good glass of wine, all that remains is to reach Bolgheri and take a nice tour in the cellars.
How to get to Baratti
By train and bus: by train you can get to Populonia station which, however, is located inland. From there you have to continue by taking a bus (autolinee Tiemme). Alternatively, you can reach Piombino by train and then take a bus to your destination.
By car: coming from the north you must take the A12 motorway and exit at San Vincenzo north, from there you must continue along the coast in the direction of Baratti on the SP39. Coming from the south, the exit of the A12 is that of Venturina.
Where to stay in Baratti
If we exclude some apartments and holiday homes, there are not many accommodations located directly in Baratti. It is much easier to find a hotel in Piombino or a farmhouse in the hinterland.