Etruscan Coast

Rosignano Marittimo, what to see, beaches and sea
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What to see and what to do in Rosignano Marittimo

Rosignano Marittimo is a town in the province of Livorno. A popular seaside destination especially by Tuscans, Rosignano is located in the northernmost area of the Upper Maremma, along the Etruscan Coast. The historic center of Rosignano Marittimo stands on a low hill a few kilometers from the sea while other centers that are part of the municipality, specifically Chioma, Castiglioncello, Rosignano Solvay, Vada and Mazzanta, are located directly on the sea. It is precisely these places that attract most tourists every summer, however, as we will see, the historic center of Rosignano is also interesting to visit.


The origin of Rosignano must be ancient because its name is probably connected with the Latin one of Rasinius or perhaps even with the Etruscan one of Rasenna, thus suggesting that the center already existed at the time of the Etruscans and Romans. The first written document that mentions the town dates back to the Lombard period. We know that in medieval times the Counts of Gherardesca had various possessions in the area and already from the 11th century there was a fortification. In the twelfth century Rosignano entered the sphere of influence of Pisa but starting from the fifteenth century it was controlled by the Florentines who rebuilt the castle.
A significant development took place in the nineteenth century when the flat areas that until then had been largely marshy were reclaimed. The twentieth century was instead the century of the development of communication routes and industry, especially in the hamlet of Rosignano Solvay.

Rosignano Marittimo
Rosignano Marittimo (Photo by Luca Aless / CC BY)

What to do in Rosignano Marittimo

Rosignano Marittimo is a beautiful medieval village of certain historical and cultural interest. To see there are the castle area, some churches and two interesting museums.

Chiesa dei Santi Giovanni Battista e Ilario

The church of Santi Giovanni Battista e Ilario is a fairly recent church as it was built around the mid-nineteenth century and then restored in 1950. Inside, however, there are some older works of art such as the marble ciborium of the sixteenth century and a polychrome wooden Crucifix dating back to the mid-fifteenth century.

Oratorio di San Giovanni Battista e Sant’Ilario di Poitiers

Going up to the castle, right next to the entrance arch, we find another interesting place of worship: the Oratory of San Giovanni Battista and Sant’Ilario di Poitiers. No, it is not a mistake, in Rosignano there is both a church and an oratory dedicated to San Giovanni Battista and Sant’Ilario. This church dates back to the sixteenth century but previously there was a parish church built in the twelfth century.


Perched on the top of the hill, the castle is the heart of the historic center of Rosignano Marittimo. Immediately outside the castle there is a panoramic terrace which offers a very beautiful view that sweeps down to the sea. Another view, even better, can be had by climbing to the top of the Clock Tower.

Archaeological Museum

Inside the fortress of Rosignano we find the sixteenth-century Palazzo Bombardieri. This is where the Civic Archaeological Museum is located, which offers a very detailed overview of the history of this area, from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages.

This museum has a strong didactic imprint and makes use of reconstructions, models and multimedia tools that go alongside the archaeological finds from the sites in the area.

Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is located inside Villa Pertusati, a short distance from the castle of Rosignano. Inside the collections of mineralogy, botany and zoology are exhibited, which are distributed in 10 thematic rooms. Of particular interest are the sea room, organized in concert with the Tuscan Observatory for Biodiversity, and the ornithology collection, in particular with regard to water birds.
The museum is also appreciated for the numerous activities carried out: scientific laboratories, research activities, guided tours and lectures especially for schools and congress activities.

Sea and beaches of Rosignano Marittimo

We come to the sea, the main reason why many choose to spend their holidays in Rosignano. Five of the towns that are part of the municipality of Rosignano Marittimo directly overlook the sea. These are Chioma, Castiglioncello, Rosignano Solvay, Vada and Mazzanta.


Chioma is located at the northern end of the Rosignano coast. Here there is a small tourist port, the Porticciolo del Chioma, and a bathhouse connected to it. Porticciolo del Chioma is an exclusive tourist complex that offers many services including diving, sailing and kayaking schools.


Castiglioncello is one of the most famous seaside destinations in all of Tuscany. If you are a lover of rocks, this is the right place for you! Castiglioncello has many beaches, most of which are characterized by the presence of stones and rocks, but there are also some sandy beaches. The sea is clean as certified by the Bandiera Blu.

Rosignano Solvay

Rosignano Solvay is famous for its infamous Spiagge Bianche (White Beaches). The very white color of its sand and the blue of its sea can make you think you are in a tropical paradise, but the reality is quite different. The white of the sand is only a side effect of the industrial discharges of the Solvay plant and in fact these beaches are in fact considered among the most polluted in Italy. Despite this, many people continue to attend them as if nothing had happened. Further north is also the Lillatro Beach, a large sandy beach with facilities, where there is also a nautical center.


The first beach of Vada that we meet coming from the north is the free beach of Pietrabianca. Fortunately, this beach is separated from the white beaches by a jetty which guarantees it some protection. More or less halfway up this beach is a World War II bunker that emerges from the sea a few meters from the shore.
Moving towards the inhabited center you begin to find the first bathing establishments of Vada which are concentrated above all in the city beach. There is no shortage of free beaches as well as clubs. There is also a kitesurfing school.


Extremely long and basically sandy, there are, however, parts with small stones and gravel, the Mazzanta beach alternates large stretches with free access to stretches occupied by the baths. Behind it runs a dense pine forest that reaches the port of Marina di Cecina. The final stretch of the Mazzante coast is called Spiaggia delle Gorette. Here there is also a Bau Beach, which is a beach dedicated to dogs.

What to see in the surroundings of Rosignano Marittimo

In the municipal area of Rosignano Marittimo there are some places to visit such as the Pasquini Castle which is located in Castiglioncello. Among the other places located in the hinterland of the Etruscan Coast, I point out Bibbona, Bolgheri, Castagneto Carducci, Suvereto and Campiglia Marittima. On the coast instead there are San Vincenzo, Populonia and Piombino.

How to get to Rosignano Marittimo

Reaching Rosignano Marittimo is not very difficult. First of all because there is the exit of the A12 motorway and then because there are railway stations in Castiglioncello, Rosignano Solvay and Vada. From these locations you can then reach the historic center by bus.
By car if you come from Florence (1h 15′) you have to take the FI-PI-LI, then turn onto the A12 to your destination. From Livorno (20′) and Pisa (50′) you can use the SS1 Aurelia state road to get to Rosignano.
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