The stretch of coastline from Livorno to Piombino is known as the Etruscan Coast, where Etruscan people lived in old times and where they make the most of the area’s huge mining and agricultural resources. It is an area with incredible natural settings characterized by medieval villages, wild nature and rocky cliffs. The Etruscan Coast is worth a visit not only for its nature (just think about the Val di Cornia parks), but also for its history, art, ancient traditions, good food and wines!
There are also exquisite medieval towns dotted inland: just think about Bolgheri (surely you’ve heard of the famous Viale dei Cipressi? And Bolgheri wine?); Castagneto Carducci and its gentle, rolling hills and wine route; and Suvereto, a small village, which has origins dating back to the year 1000.
For sure, one of the top attractions in this area is the clear water of the Ligurian Sea and the different kinds of beaches that you can find here. From the rock worn smooth by the wind and the sea to white sandy beaches, hidden coves and inlets, let’s explore them with their unique qualities.
Livorno is one of Italy’s most important ports, in terms of trading and tourism. At the end of the 19th century, some of the first bathing establishments in Italy were constructed in Livorno, so you can imagine how important the sea is for this city. In Livorno there are famous, historical bathing establishments such as Bagni Pancaldi. Just outside Livorno, along the bends of the Via Aurelia, the coast rises up and you find a series of watchtowers built to defend the area from plundering pirates.
Calafuria is a charming headland where the sandstone (called Sassoscritto – Written Rock – due to its unusual shapes caused by erosion) turns to reddish colours and the rock is fringed with helicrysum, mastic trees and myrtle. The sea here sets aside some surprises with carpets of seaweed and sponges, fish and shellfish. There is also the rigorously protected red coral.
Quercianella is located in the outskirts of Livorno and nature lovers will love this area because it offers a lot of hiking routes, on foot or by bike, which lead in and out of the hills that surround it.
The rocky coast is surrounded by beautiful villas and there is also a small station.
The sea here is perfect for diving and snorkelling lovers.
Castiglioncello is another spot along the Via Aurelia towards Rosignano Solvay. It hosts the National Archaeological Museum, an important archaeological area discovered in the first decade of the 20th century. Castiglioncello is surfers’ paradise, especially at the so-called “Rocky point” because of its similarity to the famous surf spot in Hawaii.
Vada is famous for its five kilometres of white sandy beaches. There are both private beaches as well as large stretches of public beach, all surrounded by shady pine woods. Vada can be as relaxing as it is exciting and there are many activities open to tourists. In particular it is an important centre for sailing.
Marina di Cecina has a mix of traditional private establishments and public areas. The water is crystal clear and behind the dunes there is a pinewood ideal for some shade, for a stroll or a bike ride. Also the town as a lot to offer, so that Marina di Cecina is a mix of relaxation and things to do. In fact, Cecina is not just a great seaside location, it’s also packed with history and culture from the Etruscans to Romans.
Marina di Bibbona is another of the unmissable places on the Etruscan coast. The town originally grew up around an 18th century fort built here to defend the area from pirate attacks. The long sandy beach is dotted with sand dunes and patches of Mediterranean scrub and a pinewood borders the beach and provides a shady refuge.
Marina di Castagneto near Donoratico has clear water, clean beaches and pinewoods too. There are both private and public beaches – those called “Punti Azzurri” – with basic facilities provided. In the town there is a military fort built during the Renaissance and crucial for Tuscany’s coastal defences. For families and children there is a park called Cavallino Matto for a day of fun!
San Vincenzo has a long beach that stretches for many kilometres, alternating public and private beaches. As well as the other towns, San Vincenzo has crystal-clear water and pinewoods that borders the beaches. Speaking about historical evidence, there is a 14th tower for defence purposes. San Vincenzo is a paradise for sports lovers and there is also a harbour for leisure crafts.
Golfo di Baratti, with its unspoiled nature, is a must-see in Tuscany. Due to the presence of iron, the sand is black and silver and shines under the sun. There is a little tourist harbour and possibilities to go diving and snorkelling. All around there are numerous reminders of Etruscan times like the archaeological park and the San Cerbone monumental necropolis.