Nestled on an evocative promontory across from the Tuscan Archipelago, rich in history and dotted with protected landscapes, Piombino is one of the main cities on the Etruscan Coast. Dating back to ancient times, the area’s first city developed in the prehistoric period, which is why Piombino conserves a significant number of archeological artefacts. Formerly known as Falesia’s port, Piombino was first the Signoria for the Principality under the Appiani family, and is one of the longest-lasting city-states in Italy, finally succumbing to outside power in the early 1800s, when the city fell under the rule of Elisa Bonaparte, Napoleon’s sister.
Piombino’s historic center, partly protected by a beautiful defense wall, with sections of work by Leonardo da Vinci still visible, conserves traces from the medieval and Renaissance periods. Among the city’s most significant monuments, visitors will surely be interested in the Torrione, the Rivellino, and the Fonti di Marina, where ships once went to be restocked, and the beautiful 14th-century Casa delle Bifore. The churches are a wondrous treat as well, including the Cathedral of Sant’Antimo, the Chapel of the Cittadella and the Church of the Immacolata. Dating to the 1800s, the Palazzo Nuovo sits inside the Cittadella and its design boasts a contribution by Leonardo da Vinci. The Palazzo Nuovo is the former residence of Elisa Bonaparte, seat of the The Populonia Archaeological Museum and remains a principle exhibition site for the Parks of the Val di Cornia, which houses over 2,000 Pre-historic, Etruscan and Roman artefacts. Paved alleys lead to the city’s imposing Castle, home to the Museum of the Castle and Medieval Ceramics. This splendid building dates to the 1200s. Piazza Bovio is the largest coastal piazza in Europe, home to Palazzo Appiani, from which your gaze will brush the length of the coast and the islands of the Archipelago.
Piombino is the ideal starting point to discover the Etruscan coast. From Piombino, you can quickly travel to the Baratti and Populonia Archaeological Park, where you can visit the largest necropolis and Etruscan acropolis on the sea, as well as the beautiful beach of Gulf of Baratti and the quaintly sheltered gulfs along the Via dei Cavalledderi, the route often used by the Grand Dukes of Tuscany to watch over the Piombino Promontory. The road passes by Buca delle Fate, Spiaggia Lunga, Fosso alle Canne and Cala Moresca, leading to the Punta Falcone Park, home to the city’s planetarium. The varied sea bottoms are so interesting that they attract enthusiasts from across Italy. This coastline is well-equipped for all marine sports and the town isn’t short of sailing, surf and scuba diving schools that cater to all levels of experience.
Piombino is an important stop for boaters and those visiting the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago. Ritorto and Vignale are two small towns enchantingly situated between the hills and sea. They are full of endless beaches characterized by fine, clear sand and transparent waters. The University of Siena also leads important excavations of a large Roman-era villa in Vignale. The coastal area features important natural areas: don’t forget to see the Sterpaia Nature Park, leading to Cala Perelli e Torre Mozza, a stretch of coastline famous for its unspoiled beauty and Blue Flag beaches, the Montioni Nature Park and the Orti Bottagone WWF Nature Reserve.