Guide to visit the Etruscan Coast
The Etruscan Coast is a long stretch of coast that goes from Livorno to Piombino and includes many towns in the province of Livorno. On the coast we find seaside resorts such as Castiglioncello, San Vincenzo and Baratti, while inland we find delightful villages such as Bolgheri, Suvereto and Campiglia Marittima.
The name derives from the presence of numerous Etruscan finds, especially necropolis, which inhabited these parts in remote eras especially in the area around the Gulf of Baratti and Populonia, a hamlet founded by the Etruscans. In the area there are also archaeological parks such as the Parco archeominerario di San Silvestro and the Parco archeologico di Baratti e Populonia. Very beautiful also the naturalistic areas among which there are the Parco costiero di Rimigliano and that of the Parco della Sterpaia.
Main places to visit in the Etruscan Coast
Bibbona is a municipality in the province of Livorno which also includes Marina di Bibbona, one of the best known seaside resorts on the Etruscan Coast. The historic center of Bibbona is quite interesting. In medieval times there was a castle here of which few traces remain while the Pieve di Sant’Ilario and Fonte di Bacco have been better preserved. Another monument to visit is the Renaissance Chiesa di Santa Maria della Pietà. Marina di Bibbona, with its long sandy beaches, numerous bathing establishments and the beautiful coastal pine forest, is the ideal location for a beach holiday with family and children.
Renamed in the early twentieth century in honor of the italian poet Giosuè Carducci, Castagneto Carducci is a pleasant hilltop village where the great poet spent most of his childhood. Here we find museum about this poet and a literary park, that includes some itineraries to discover the places that inspired his works. The towns of Bolgheri, Donoratico and Marina di Castagneto which is located on the sea are also part of the municipality of Castagneto Carducci.
In a tour of the Etruscan Coast, a stop in Bolgheri is a must. Here are produced some of the finest wines in all of Tuscany such as Sassicaia and Ornellaia. The Etruscan Coast is famous for the production of wine, so much so that there is talk of a real Wine Route that from Bolgheri leads to Suvereto and Campiglia Marittima. An itinerary to discover local wines could be a good way to visit the Etruscan Coast. In addition to its wines, Bolgheri is famous for the long tree-lined avenue that leads from the provincial road, or rather from San Guido, where there is a lovely oratory, to the gates of the village and the castle that welcomes visitors on their arrival in city.
Sassetta is a small and charming village in the Val di Cornia. Inserted in a valuable naturalistic context, made of woods and forests, the village preserves some interesting monuments and a peculiar artistic liveliness linked to the activities of the Simposio di Scultura, a peculiar open-air laboratory that allows you to directly witness the creation of new works of art. In the surrounding area, I would like to point out the presence of the spa which is located just outside the city and of the Parco Forestale di Poggio Neri, a large wood with numerous itineraries for walking, cycling and horse riding.
San Vincenzo is one of the main seaside resorts of the whole Etruscan Coast. Along its coasts you will find many bathing establishments and many free beaches; there is even a dog beach where you can go with your four-legged friends who can move freely and swim without problems. Along the coast of San Vincenzo there is also the Parco naturale costiero di Rimigliano which extends for almost 6 kilometers.
Suvereto is a village of the outback rich in history and culture. Here we find many monuments, churches, museums and a fortress that dominates the town from above. In addition to the Rocca Aldobrandesca, the Pieve di San Giusto with its museum of sacred art, and the Palazzo Comunale with the so-called Loggia dei Giudici.
Campiglia Marittima is a pretty hilltop hamlet, located about 8 kilometers from the coast, which has well preserved its historic urban fabric. Here there are many things to see starting from the medieval fortress which is located in the highest point of the town, the Museo d’Arte Sacra where several works dating back to a long period from the 16th to the 19th century are exhibited, the Propositura di San Lorenzo and the Palazzo Pretorio. In the municipal area of Campiglia we find the aforementioned Parco Archeominerario di San Silvestro and the spa town of Venturina Terme.
Piombino is one of the main ports of Tuscany; ferries to the island of Elba leave from here. In the historic center there are some monuments to visit such as the Palazzo Comunale and the Castle, and a couple of interesting museums, such as the Museo archeologico del Territorio di Populonia, but the thing that more than any other attracts the interest is probably the spectacular Piazza Bovio overlooking the sea: a truly unmissable viewpoint!
As we said at the beginning, Populonia was founded by the Etruscans and in its surroundings you can admire many works of this ancient people. To get in touch with this culture I suggest you to visit both the Parco di Archeologico-naturalistico di Populonia e Baratti and the Museo Etrusco di Populonia. After the Etruscan period, Populonia also knew a Roman phase of which there remain many evidences clearly visible thanks to the excavations of the acropolis. Finally, there is also a beautiful fortress from which you can appreciate a magnificent view of the sea.