In between Castagneto and the coastline sits Donoratico, owing its name to the medieval castle whose ruins and imposing tower can still be visited. It’s located a short walk away from the town and was founded on Via Aurelia, the historic Roman road, still welcoming visitors with its lively - though tranquil in the summer - atmosphere. A few minutes from the town is the beautiful and inviting golden beach that stretches from Marina di Bibbona to San Vincenzo.
The village was founded in the first half of the 19th century, when Guido Alberto Della Gherardesca created a series of communities, consisting primarily of small farms.
Donoratico began to expand in 1863, when the Livorno-Follonica rail line was first inaugurated, as was the Bombolo station, instead of being located in its namesake town. It was constructed on the orders of the Della Gherardescha Counts, adjacent to their Mandriacce property around which the centre of Donoratico rapidly grew.
Full of artisanal activity, Donoratico is also known for the construction of competitive and recreational boats.
The castle or tower of Donoratico characterises the entire area. It was built at the request of the Della Gherardesca family where an Etruscan fortress once stood. The castle and the church – dedicated to San Colombano – were destroyed in 1447, during the decline of Alfonso V of Aragon. The tower was heavily restructured in 1929 and some of Donoratico castle’s stone was used to build the bell tower next to the church of San Lorenzo in Castagneto Carducci. Legend has it that the famous Count Ugolino della Gherardesca – mentioned in Dante’s Inferno – stayed in this very castle.
Donoratico is also the ideal place for family holidays. Inside the vast pine forest that runs along the Marina di Castagento Carducci’s splendid beaches on the Tyrrhenian sea is one of the most famous amusement parks in all of Tuscany: the Cavallino Matto Park. Surrounded by greenery, it’s full of games and attractions, and provides shows to entertain both the young and old.
Donoratico is located in the heart of the Etruscan Coast, a region facing the crystal clear Tuscan sea and bearing witness to the golden age of the Etruscans. It’s possible to visit some of the most important attractions here in order to understand that mysterious and avant-garde civilisation. Populonia, for example, nestled on the Gulf of Baratti, was their only seaside city.
Only a few kilometres away is Castagneto Carducci, an absolute jewel of a village known for having housed the great poet Giosuè Carducci. The house he lived in has become a museum full of intriguing documents and objects.
If you’d rather surround yourself in nature, opt for a stroll around the Natural Park of Rimigliano, an oasis where sea lilies, myrtle and junipers bloom and where foxes, wild rabbits and red squirrels live.
Summer in Donoratico goes hand in hand with the traditional Tortello Festival; during August, the hamlet of Castagneto Carducci becomes the centre of the characteristic local tortelli, seasoned with exquisite meat sauces or butter. The festival is the perfect time to not only try typical products, but to get involved with the dances in the evenings, packing plenty of fun for both adults and children.
Typical dishes and products
Wine, olive, vegetables, fish and meat; whatever you’re feeling like, Donoratico offers the possibility to try a wide range of typical products. In this area delicious dishes are created from both land and sea cuisine, accompanied by the legendary wines of DOC Bolgheri.
The fresh pasta deserves its own section: according to historic recipes and traditions, the region is known for its tortelli and pappardelle, as well as tagliolini. Dishes based on game such as wild boar are frequently served.
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