The Etruscan Coast is a sweep of coastline characterized by lush nature and the strength of its colours, the beautiful, diverse beaches and the traces of a history that stretches back millennia. This was the Etruscans’ favourite coastal area, and the ancient civilization left behind endless traces of their time here that invite visitors to explore this fascinating and mysterious place. Along the coast is Populonia, their only city on the sea, nestled in the Baratti Gulf. The necropolis highlights the desires and secrets of this enigmatic population, home to a large number of artefacts.
An ideal destination for lovers of open-air sports, the Etruscan Coast offers a considerable range of opportunities thanks to the numerous itineraries that can be explored on foot, on horseback or by mountain bike, as well as a crystal-clear sea just a short distance from a dense pine grove and Mediterranean scrub.
An ideal way to explore the Etruscan Coast is to follow the Aurelia: you can leave from Livorno or come from the south, kind of like Vittorio Gassman and Jean-Louis Trintignant did in Sorpasso; but no matter the direction, you’ll undoubtedly discover cliffs and sandy beaches, like in Castiglioncello, where the coastal vegetation is a dense pine grove, while further from the sea, nature transforms into an impenetrable scrub.
Travelling the coast, you’ll find everything: dark sand and fine, pale sand, equipped beaches or uncrowded free beaches. Or you can embark on a shaded journey, walking or riding on horseback from the pine groves in Vada to Piombino, passing by San Vincenzo, or keeping close to the “tall, blunt” cypress trees, once so dear to Giosuè Carducci. If you’d rather relax, head instead to Venturina, home to hot springs that offer a restorative holiday, or retreat from the stress of everyday life at the Buddhist centre in Pomaia. There are tons of things to do with the whole family as well, like the San Silvestro Archaeological Mines Park: hop on-board the little train as it descends deep into the mines.
As you explore the area, make sure to dedicate some time to the charming inland zones as well: Etruscan ruins, farmed lands, vineyards and hills, a kingdom of tranquillity where the sea and its aromas are never too far away. From one hill to the next, quaint and perfectly-preserved villages await you with their enchanting views and exceptional food and wine. Stop by Suvereto, considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, discover Sassetta or wander the narrow streets in Montescudaio and Guardistallo.
All that’s left to do is mention the food: there are seafood dishes like cacciucco or meat recipes like vegetable soups; and of course, there’s also wine, with some of the best in Italy being made right here, like Bolgheri and Sassicaia: the labels from the Etruscan Coast will win you over with their inebriating elegance.