Etruscan Coast

Cecina: sea, beaches, what to see and how to get there
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Cecina and Marina di Cecina

Cecina is one of the main towns in the province of Livorno. Located in the heart of the Etruscan Coast, the city is located in the terminal part of the Val di Cecina, near the mouth of the river Cecina with the same name. The town of Cecina is located just over two kilometers from the sea, while its hamlet of Cecina Mare, better known as Marina di Cecina, is located directly along the coast. By now they are practically attached between the two locations because over the years a district has developed along the avenue that connects them.

Those who spend their holidays in Cecina do it to take advantage of its long sandy beaches and its beautiful sea. Every year Marina di Cecina obtains the recognition of the Blue Flag as a testimony of the quality of its sea and its beaches.


The area where the town of Cecina stands has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The name of the city probably derives from that of a powerful Etruscan family, the Kaikna of Volterra who in Roman times was known as Caecina. During the Roman period, the consul Albino Cecina had a villa built here, the remains of which are located in the locality of San Vincenzino. Unfortunately, during the imperial era Cecina underwent a decline which was accentuated with the barbarian invasions. With the exception of the Lombard period, this area remained essentially abandoned for many centuries.

To find a revival it is necessary to go as far as 1590 when the Grand Duke of Tuscany Ferdinando I had a palace built, the “Fitto di Cecina”, as the seat for the administration of the Grand Ducal lands. In that period a bridge and a mill were also built but in 1631, the plague decimated the population causing a new depopulation. In 1738 the Marquis Carlo Ginori built a villa here and subsequently the “La Cinquantina” working lodge was also built, which served as a base for the laborers engaged in the cultivation of wheat.

The real turning point for Cecina came with the nineteenth-century reclamation carried out by the Lorraine Grand Dukes. In that period the large pine forests that separate the coast from the hinterland were also created. In the nineteenth century the inhabited center began to develop and in 1863 the railway also arrived. Cecina became an autonomous municipality in 1906. Initially it was part of the province of Pisa but in 1925 it was merged with that of Livorno. We arrive at 1944, when the city was the scene of the Battle of Cecina, which ended with the victory of the allies over the Nazis and with the consequent liberation of the city.

Cecina (Photo by Sailko / CC BY)

What to do and what to see in Cecina

Today Cecina and Marina represent an ideal destination for a beach holiday for both families and young people. The city has a considerable accommodation capacity with many hotels, residences, resorts, holiday homes and campsites. There are many attractions such as the Acqua Village water park, many bars, restaurants, clubs and discos. Along the coast there is a clean sea and long sandy beaches, while in the hinterland there are several historic villages and interesting places to visit.

Sea and beaches of Cecina

The beaches of Cecina and Marina di Cecina extend for a few kilometers, occupying the strip of coast between the municipalities of Rosignano Marittimo (to the north) and Bibbona (to the south). There are three beaches: Le Gorette, which is located north of the port of Cecina, the Cecina Mare beach, which is the town beach, and the beach of the parco naturale dei Tomboli di Cecina.

Le Gorette

Le Gorette beach is the most northerly of the Cecina beaches. It is located between the municipal area of ​​Rosignano Marittimo and the mouth of the Cecina river, where the port of Marina di Cecina is located. This beach is made up of a mix of dark sand and gravel. At this point the coast is divided by several cliffs which guarantee a certain protection. The bottom tends to get deep quite quickly.

Along the Gorette beach there are several bathing establishments, restaurants and beach bars, but there are also large stretches of free beach where you can go for free. There is also the possibility to rent sports equipment for surfing, windsurfing and other water sports. A section of the beach (Bau Beach Gorette) is dedicated to dogs: here there is an equipped establishment and a section with free access.

Behind the Le Gorette beach there is a vast and thick pine forest that continues uninterruptedly to the port. A hundred meters from the sea there is a paid parking but alternatively you can reach this beach using the shuttle service that leaves from Marina di Cecina.

Marina di Cecina beach

The beach of Marina di Cecina is located in correspondence with the inhabited center and extends from the Bocca di Cecina, where the tourist port is located, to the end of the city. It is a single long stretch of beach interspersed with cliffs, largely occupied by bathing establishments. The beach is wide and characterized by dark sand. The ease of reaching it and the quantity of services available make it perfect for a holiday with children. Behind it there is a pedestrian promenade (Viale della Vittoria), ideal for a relaxing walk, while in the immediate vicinity there are many restaurants, bars, clubs and hotels overlooking the sea.

Beach of the Tomboli di Cecina

Further south, the last three abundant kilometers of beach develop in correspondence with the parco naturale dei Tomboli di Cecina. It is accessed by crossing the Tomboli Biogenetic Reserve, thanks to a series of paths that cut through the pine forest. Since we are inside a nature reserve, this beach is completely free and there is not even a bathhouse. In the southernmost part there is a stretch of beach dedicated to dogs.

What to do in Cecina

If you have read the part about the history you probably don’t expect that there is a lot to see in Cecina and indeed it is. Clearly the main reason to spend the holidays here is the sea, but there would be a little something to see. The main places to visit are the Roman villa, the archaeological museum and the Parco Gallorose.

Roman villa

The Roman villa is located in the town of San Vincenzino, a stone’s throw from the train station. Built in the 1st century BC, the villa was enlarged in the following centuries and then abandoned around the 5th century; later it was occupied by a necropolis. The villa was made up of various structures including a cistern for collecting water and some representative rooms. Today the villa is part of a municipal archaeological park and near it there is a small museum where some finds are exhibited.

La Cinquantina Archaeological Museum

The Municipal Archaeological Museum La Cinquantina is located inside Villa Guerrazzi (also known as Villa della Cinquantina), which is located in the hamlet of San Pietro in Palazzi. This museum was established in 1980 with the aim of collecting finds from the Lower Val di Cecina. The exhibited pieces cover a long chronological span that goes from the Paleolithic to late antiquity.

Parco Gallorose

The Parco Gallorose is located a little further south of Cecina, along the Via Aurelia Sud. It is both a zoological garden and a farm. Inside there are nearly 200 species of animals from various parts of the world, both wild and domestic. This is certainly a visit that will please the little ones but also the adults who will be able to admire some very particular animals such as the giant red kangaroo, the crane of paradise and the cassowary.

What to see in the surroundings of Cecina

The Etruscan Coast is characterized by a very beautiful sea and by the presence of many villages, many beautiful and rich in history. Along the coast there are several seaside resorts such as Castiglioncello and San Vincenzo. In the hinterland, however, I recommend that you visit Rosignano Marittimo, Bibbona, Castagneto Carducci, Suvereto and Campiglia Marittima. In the southernmost stretch of the Etruscan Coast we find Populonia and Piombino. If, on the other hand, you want to drink a good glass of wine, you absolutely must go to Bolgheri where some of the finest wines in all of Tuscany are produced.

How to get to Cecina

Cecina is located about 40 kilometers from Livorno, 55 from Pisa and 110 from Florence. It is easy to reach both by public transport and by car. Cecina has its own railway station, located along the Tyrrhenian railway that connects Pisa to Rome and regularly served by regional trains. There are direct trains from Livorno, Pisa and Florence although from the latter it is sometimes necessary to change trains at Pisa Centrale or Livorno Centrale.

By car, Cecina is easily reachable using the SS1 Aurelia state road with exit at the junction of the same name. From Florence (an hour and a half by car) you have to take the FI-PI-LI, then turn onto A12 and take the Aurelia. From Pisa and Livorno it is about three quarters of an hour by car along the Aurelia heading south.

Where to stay in Cecina

If you are looking for accommodation near the sea you should stay in Marina di Cecina. The city offers a very wide choice, with many hotels, residences and even apartments for rent. If you want to get away from the coast which is certainly crowded in summer, it is worth looking for a place in Cecina. Here you can choose between bed and breakfasts, hotels and holiday homes. There are also some campings and tourist villages in the area.

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