Guide to Castagneto Carducci in Tuscany
Castagneto Carducci is a delightful hamlet located about seven kilometers from the sea in the province of Livorno. The location in the center of the so-called Etruscan Coast makes this place an excellent destination both for those in search of peace and for those interested in a beach holiday. The proximity to the coast is not the only strong point of this territory; this area is very renowned for the production of wine of the highest level with some of the most famous labels in all of Tuscany.
Many wonder what the origin of the name of Castagneto Carducci is and if it has anything to do with the famous poet Carducci. In fact, this is true even if originally the name of the town was simply “Castagneto” (which means chestnut wood), while at the beginning of the twentieth century the term “Marittimo” (marine) was added and only in 1907 the name was changed to Castagneto Carducci in honor of Giosuè Carducci. The poet is not a native of Castagneto but he lived here (to be precise in Bolgheri) when he was a child and returned here many times during his life.
Top things to see in Castagneto Carducci
The hamlet developed during the Middle Ages around the Castle of the Della Gherardesca that with the Chiesa di San Lorenzo constitutes the oldest part of Castagneto Carducci. Starting from this historic core, located in the highest part of the village, unfolds a Web of narrow streets which occasionally lead to some nice squares.
Let’s see which are the most important things to visit in Castagneto Carducci:
- Castle of Castagneto Carducci
- Propositura di San Lorenzo
- Chiesa del Santissimo Crocifisso
- Centro di valorizzazione “Casa Carducci”
- Museo archivio “Giosuè Carducci” e Parco letterario “Giosuè Carducci”
Castle of Castagneto Carducci
The Castle of Castagneto Carducci, that today is a venue for events and ceremonies, was built by the Della Gherardesca family around the year 1000. Over the centuries it has been modified many times until it acquired the forms of a noble palace in the 18th century. The castle dominates from the top of a hill from which it enjoys wide views. Although privately owned, the castle and its gardens can be visited by appointment.
Propositura di San Lorenzo
The propositura of San Lorenzo, which is part of the castle complex, is remembered as a parish since 1212 but its origin could be even more ancient; in 1926 the church was radically modified. Inside there are some twentieth-century frescoes by Alberto Zardo that celebrate the history of the Della Gherardesca family who ruled for many centuries on Castagneto.
Chiesa del Santissimo Crocifisso
Right at the foot of the Church of San Lorenzo, we find the chiesa del Santissimo Crocifisso. Founded during the 16th century, also this church was remodeled in the beginning of the 20th century. Inside there is a fiftheenth-century wooden cross, that is highly revered by locals.
Centro di valorizzazione “Casa Carducci”
In via Carducci 59 we find the Espinassi Moratti palace, seat of the Centro di valorizzazione “Casa Carducci” which is part of the literary park dedicated to this great Italian poet. This is the house where Carducci spent some periods, between 1879 and 1894, as a guest of the Espinassi Moratti family. In addition to the rooms of the house where there are still furniture from that period, some archives relating to the poet are kept here.
Museo archivio “Giosuè Carducci” e Parco letterario “Giosuè Carducci”
Continuing this visit on the traces of Carducci, you can visit the museo archivio “Giosuè Carducci” housed inside the Palazzo Comunale since 1982. Inside this museum are exposed many documents regarding Carducci. Here is also the seat of the Parco letterario “Giosuè Carducci” that offers four itineraries (only on reservation) into the surrounding territory often celebrated by the poet in its poems: “Viaggio sentimentale” (Sentimental journey) that also passes through Bolgheri; “Castagneto con i ricordi giovanili e la torre di Donoratico” (Castagneto with youthful memories and the Tower of Donoratico); i “percorsi enogastronomici” (wine and gastronomic excursions); “percorsi naturalistico-sensoriali e la guida parco letterario” (sensory nature trails and visit the literary Park ), the last visit also includes poems readings.
Those interested in itineraries should book ahead (phone: 0565/765032; email: castagneto.archivio@).
What to see and what to do in the surroundings of Castagneto Carducci
Seaside near Castagneto Carducci
Much of the tourism in this area is linked to the sea and in the vicinity of Castagneto Carducci there are some rather famous places. The nearest seaside resort is Marina di Castagneto Carducci just 8 kilometers away and San Vincenzo (12 km) is certainly not far away. Going down a little along the coast you reach the beautiful Gulf of Baratti and Populonia, while on the other side of the promontory there is Piombino from which the ferries that connect the mainland to the Island of Elba and the other islands of Tuscany depart.
The Etruscan Coast has many sandy beaches suitable for a holiday for the whole family, children and dogs included: one of the main beaches in the area, called Il Seggio, has an area equipped to welcome dogs.
Lovers of good wine cannot help but visit Bolgheri and its cellars; some of the finest wines are produced here such as Ornellaia and Sassicaia. The village is also known for the famous cypress avenue sung in Carducci’s poem “Davanti a San Guido” and in San Guido there is a small picturesque oratory to see. Apart from the wine, the main attraction of Bolgheri is the Castello della Gherardesca which is located at the entrance to the town.
Among the other places to visit in the municipality of Castagneto Carducci, I would like to point out the Castle of Castiglioncello di Bolgheri, the Faunistic Refuge of Bolgheri and the ruins of the Castle of Donoratico of which it remains part of a tower that stands out in all its height.
Other places of the Etruscan Coast
Castagneto is located on the Etruscan Coast in the province of Livorno and in the surrounding area there are many interesting places to visit. In addition to the places on the coast and the aforementioned Bolgheri, I recommend you also take a trip to the medieval villages of the hinterland such as Campiglia Marittima, Sassetta, where there are also spas, and Suvereto.
How to get to Castagneto Carducci
Castagneto Carducci is located about 65 kilometers from Livorno and 80 from Grosseto. The historic center of Castegneto is not directly served by the train but only by buses; let’s see what are the options to get to Castagneto Carducci.
From north A12 till the exit Donoratico, then continue on SP329 till destination.
From south A12 till the exit San Vincenzo nord, then continue on via Aurelia in direction of Donoratico till the turn on SP329.
By Treno and Bus: you can take a train for Donoratico, from there you hate to take a bus line 006 or 014 by Tiemme Piombino.
Diring the summer the Municipality of Castagneto Carducci sets up a tourist bus service called “In borgo in bus” linking Marina di Castagneto, Castagneto Carducci and Bolgheri.