Tuscan Maremma


Follonica, guide to the beaches and what to see

Follonica and surroundings: free beaches, equipped and for children

Follonica is one of the best known seaside resorts in the province of Grosseto. The city is located in the center of the Gulf of Follonica which extends between the Promontory of Piombino and Punta Ala. To be a Tuscan city, Follonica is decidedly “young” since its origin dates back only to 1834 when the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo II started the construction of the Reali e Imperiali Fonderie (Royal and Imperial Foundries). Its history is linked to the steel industry until 1960, when the steel mills were moved to nearby Piombino. Since then the fame of Follonica as a tourist resort has grown to the point that today it is considered one of the most pleasant destinations to spend the summer holidays, above all thanks to the beautiful and spacious beaches that characterize it.

The sea and the beaches of Follonica

Several times this delightful stretch of sea has been awarded the Bandiera Blu that guarantees a clean sea with crystal clear waters. Tourism has begun to take an interest in Follonica since the 1960s and for this reason the sector has seen its prices grow by structuring the area for the reception of visitors with hotels, lodges, campsites, B&Bs and holiday homes.

In fact, the beaches are, in some places, duly equipped with umbrellas, deck chairs, sunbeds, lifeguards, skates and pedal boats, toilets, public showers, refreshment points with bars and kiosks, beach volleyball, soccer and basketball fields, picnic areas and parking.

The spiaggia di Carbonifera, north of the inhabited center, is part of the Parco Costiero della Sterpaia, enhanced by a tower that recalls the commercial vocation of the area, where coal arrived via the railway that ended here. It is a beach suitable for families with children because the seabed is shallow, with a vegetation of domestic pines and dunes behind it.

Another very beautiful beach is that of Torre Mozza, divided between Follonica and Piombino, which takes its name from the sixteenth-century tower of the same name built by the Appiani to guard the pirate raids of ancient times. It is a lido with a wild vocation, with weeds and reeds that line the beach and which hides a curiosity in the seabed in front. In fact, it seems that about 30 meters from the shore you can see with a simple mask and a snorkel, a cliff parallel to the coast that stretches for hundreds of meters and it is likely that it is the ancient site of the Via Aurelia. In addition to this you will notice a rich fish fauna.

Torre Mozza
Torre Mozza (Photo by Paolo Querci / CC BY)

Equipped beaches in the town of Follonica

Near the town of Follonica you can go down to the sea at the Boschetto, Pratoranieri and Lido beaches. They have in common behind a splendid pine forest and the fact that they are equipped with establishments of a good level. However, there are also stretches of free beach and, when the air is clear, you can admire the islands such as Elba, Montecristo and Corsica in the distance. The Polveriera beach is also not far from Follonica and is a lot of fun for children as in the hours of low tide sand islets emerge where they can have fun playing.

Cala Martina, on the other hand, is about 7 km from Follonica and is not an easily accessible beach because it is not possible to reach it directly by car, so you can only get there on foot or by bike. It is an ideal place to find privacy and tranquility. Along the path there is a monument to Garibaldi in memory of his passage in these places while he fled chased by the Papal Guards.

Follonica sunset
Sunset on the Island of Elba from Pratoranieri (Photo by Francesco Babboni / CC BY)

Free beaches in Follonica and surroundings

If you love pristine, free and wild beaches then go to Cala Civette along the provincial road n. 158 delle Collacchie and near the Alma river. The beach takes its name from the 16th century watchtower of the Civette on a promontory surrounded by greenery. Other beaches where you can choose to swim in crystal clear water are Casetta Civinini and Cala Violina, one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire Maremma.

Beyond the beaches: what to visit in the area

Castello di Valle

Among the most interesting things to see is the Castello di Valle which dates back to the 9th century and from the top of the homonymous hill offers a beautiful view of the gulf. Today only the ruins of the castle remain but its charm remains intact. In a certain sense it can be considered the origin of Follonica since it was the only inhabited settlement in the area until the mid-nineteenth century, when the first factory-village of Follonica was born.

Villaggio-fabbrica di Follonica

Follonica was born as a villaggio-fabbrica (village-factory) due to the steel mills born with the discovery of iron deposits on the Island of Elba, then transformed into the Ilva factory. Now that the factory has been closed, the area has been reused to house various activities and offices that have brought it to new life. This is also an area of high potential as it is considered an important site of industrial archeology. In the complex there is also the Museo delle arti in ghisa nella Maremma (MAGMA), entirely dedicated to the iron and steel industry of Follonica. The museum itinerary is spread over three floors with an innovative layout that makes extensive use of multimedia elements. The museum is organized in three major sections, art, history and production, which explore every theme relating to the production of cast iron both locally and internationally. There is no lack of educational activities dedicated to schools.

Chiesa di San Leopoldo

The Church of San Leopoldo is the most important in Follonica. Built in 1836, the church is very particular and characteristic due to the widespread use that has been made of an element closely linked with the history of Follonica: cast iron. Numerous architectural elements are in fact made of cast iron; in particular the churchyard with its columns and decorations, the rose window, the apse, the tip of the bell tower and some furnishings.

Church of San Leopoldo in Follonica
Church of San Leopoldo (Photo by Francesco Babboni / CC BY)

Other places near Follonica

In the area there are several tourist resorts and historic villages of great charm. Among the most interesting I point out Scarlino with its medieval fortress, the wonderful Massa Marittima with all its spectacular monuments, Montemassi and the city of Etruscan origin of Vetulonia.

Events and activities

The folklore of Follonica goes back to its recent history with the “Follos 1838”, a historical re-enactment of the period in which the Grand Duke of Tuscany Leopold II chose it as an industrial center. The event includes the exhibition of cowboys, the palio of flags, the tug of war where different districts of the same city compete against each other.

Follonica is one of the stages of the Gray Cat Jazz Festival which is held in various places in the Maremma. There is no shortage of entertainment with nightclubs such as pubs, pizzerias, discos, lounge bars or restaurants where you can taste typical cuisine, have an aperitif or have an ice cream.

Among the sports that can be practiced in the area you can devote yourself to sailing and water sports, as well as diving, diving, horse riding, polo and rally competitions and also attend the trotting competitions at the municipal hippodrome.

How to get to Follonica

Follonica is located 45 kilometers from Grosseto, 140 from Florence and 85 from Siena. The city has its own railway station located on the Genoa-Rome line which is regularly served by daily regional trains. The closest airport is the Galileo Galilei in Pisa which is about 90 kilometers away.

By car, coming from the north, the fastest route to take is the A12 motorway to the Rosignano exit and then Aurelia towards Grosseto. From the south A12 to Civitavecchia and then Aurelia heading north.

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