Bolgheri was immortalized by Giosuè Carducci in his poem 'Before San Guido' - I cipressi che a Bolgheri alti e schietti / van da San Guido in duplice filar (the cypresses that stand tall and frank at Bolgheri run from San Guido in double file) - and this old hilltown, which rose up around a medieval castle, exerts an undying charm. Not far from the coast, the town is nevertheless buried deep in a countryside rich with vines and olive groves, while the town centre shows an admirable harmony of architecture. Bolgheri's paved alleyways and its old stone palazzos are often further beautified by beds of geraniums.
The aforementioned castle is a distinctive feature, and around it run the celebrated, cypress-shaded road, which connects the historic centre with the Oratory of San Guido. Life in Bolgheri is animated by its many artisan workshops, wine shops, osterias and restaurants. The latter lay on typical dishes connected to the local culinary tradition, which is far from unrespectable.
The place is rendered still more evocative by its assortment of old churches, from the church of Sant'Antonio to the church of San Giacomo and San Cristoforo. But no less memorable are Giosuè Carducci's childhood house and the Oratory of San Guido, a hexagonal temple commissioned by the Gherardesca family and which stands along the Via Aurelia.
The countryside around the town unfolds around magnificent roads like the viale di Bolgheri and the via Bolgherese, and it is also full of agritourism farmstays and stables. It is the ideal destination for those who love walking, but this fascinating stretch of the Etruscan Coast can also be discovered by bicycle or on horseback.
The Padule di Bolgheri Animal Reserve is a must-visit area of more than 500 hectares, the first private protected area in Italy. Around 15 minutes from the town you can visit Castagneto Carducci, with its little churches and panoramic views.
Every year, in April, Bolgheri hosts an unmissable event for vintage cycling enthusiasts: L'EtruscaCiclostorica, a vintage bicycle race that runs through the most beautiful landscapes of the Etruscan Coast and the Cecina Valley. In September, meanwhile, the town becomes a stage for Bolgheri Jazz, which is as much about wine as it is about music, as it welcomes the main wineries from the local area and countless jazz outfits from all over Italy.
Typical dishes and produce
The Bolgheri area is famed for the incredible quality of its viticultural production, enabled by a particularly dry and sunny microclimate that blesses the so-called 'wine road' along the Etruscan Coast. Various grape varieties are grown here, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Among the most famous Bolgheri wines, standouts are Sassicaia, Ornellaia and Masseto.