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The view from the tower of Populonia

Exploring the Tuscan Coast

Discover amazing seaside locations in Tuscany

The Tuscan coast boasts a number of places worth exploring, from Marina di Carrara to Monte Argentario. Travel along the via Aurelia as you admire the bright sea, with its coves, long beaches, pine forests and ancient history. We’ve put together some suggestions for the best places to visit along the coast, where you’ll find no shortage of tourist attractions to enjoy on your vacation.

Marina di Carrara
Marina di Carrara - Credit: Mauri Borghini

We begin on the Riviera Apuana, home to sandy beaches and the white marble mountains of the Apuan Alps. The main beach resorts in the area, Marina di Carrara and Marina di Massa, provide all you will need in terms of entertainment. You can also go hiking or head out on mountain bike excursions, exploring the small villages dotting the Lunigiana, rich in tradition and history.

Viareggio beach
Viareggio beach - Credit: jooliargh

Next, we move to the coast in the Versilia, a land of fun and art. Stroll through elegant Forte dei Marmi, home to the most famous clubs in Italy and visited by many VIPs, or check out the exhibitions and cultural initiatives in Pietrasanta and the Festival della Versiliana, an outdoor festival overlooking the sea and boasting many performances. For a day of shopping, there’s no better place than Viareggio, with its beautiful seafront Art Nouveau buildings housing trendy fashion stores. Or perhaps you want to relax in the stunning beach atmosphere of Camaiore, savouring the delicious local cuisine and participating in the many events going on around town.

Marina di Pisa
Marina di Pisa - Credit: Michael Wünsch

Moving towards Marina di Pisa, Tirrenia and Calambrone, you’ll find a landscape rich in nature reserves and beautiful shores, away from the crowds and chaos, immersed in high sand dunes and beach facilities. You can then head down to the San Rossore pine forest, a nature reserve on the Pisan coast protected for its importance and rarity.

Terrazza Mascagni in Livorno
Terrazza Mascagni in Livorno - Credit: Fabrizio Angius

Now let’s head to Livorno, where you’ll want to check out the Terrazza Mascagni to admire the view of the sea and the islands, stretching all the way to Corsica. Move on to Antignano and the town of Quercianella, hidden away in the pines. Next up is Piombino, an area rich in history and full of beautiful sites. Castiglioncello is an Etruscan village that boasts a Blue Flag beach (a European award). The village is characterized by little streets, gardens, a large pine forest and small coves and harbours. Or you can head to Rosignano Marittima and Vada, famous for their white beaches. Our journey continues towards Cecina, where you’ll find great swimming and services. Now move inland to Bolgheri to discover the cypress-lined roads and the home of Giosuè Carducci.

View of the gulf and necropolis in Baratti
View of the gulf and necropolis in Baratti - Credit: Allie_Caulfield

San Vincenzo is where the heart of the Etruscan Coast really begins. After the wilderness of the Rimigliano Nature Reserve, stop by the Gulf of Baratti, a magnificent bay with pine trees, just a few houses and shiny, grey sand. This 1000-year-old harbour still shows traces of its mining past. The ancient harbour became famous in 1908, when one of the most important Etruscan necropolises in Tuscany was discovered here, home to tombs dating to 900-300 BCE.

Populonia's castle
Populonia's castle - Credit: Allie_Caulfield

Beyond Baratti sits Populonia, with its castle and ancient acropolis, famous as early as the Iron Age (900 BCE). It was one of the 12 most important cities in Etruria and the only one on the sea. Populonia has just 30 year-round residents, but 2500 years ago, it’s population was 40,000 and it was one of the main ports on the Mediterranean. Make sure to stop by the Buca delle Fate, a wonderful bay worth visiting, which gets its name from the Etruscan tombs in the rocks. For a more romantic landscape, you can instead follow the roads to Donoratico, Marina di Castegneto, and Marina di Cecina, which were the inspiration for many of Carducci’s poems.

Cala Violina's water
Cala Violina's water - Credit: Stutterstock.com / StevanZZ

Now head towards Piombino, which is known for its harbour and metallurgy. This fascinating area is perfect for outdoor holidays, thanks to the beauty of the neighbouring sea, its inland areas and the quality of its services. The beach facilities thankfully haven’t ruined the wilderness in the area. Visit Scarlino, with its famous Cala Martina (Garibaldi’s shelter after escaping Rome, and where he caught a boat to Porto Venere), Cala Violina, Le Rocchette and Castiglion della Pescaia. After Piombino, visit Follonia. The sun on the sea is blindingly beautiful, illuminating the green trees and blue water. Punta Ala is the next stop, one of the most famous areas along the Tyrrhenian coast.

Castiglione della Pescaia
Castiglione della Pescaia - Credit: Marco Caruso

Castiglione della Pescaia is perhaps one of the best-known beach areas in the Maremma, with its splendid pine forests and seaside, as well as its busy harbour. The town centre is organized around the castle, a typical feature of medieval towns, and it lies along the Bruna River. Vetulonia is also worth visiting, home to a large Etruscan necropolis. To get to the Maremma Nature Park, head towards Alberese. The park is famous for its horses and rare plants, unspoilt shoreline and hillside views of the islands. Moving south on the via Aurelia, we reach the Argentario. Getting close to the islands is exciting because you’ll come across what is known as the Silver Coast, boasting sparkling sands on the tomboli in Orbetello, Giannella and Feniglia.  

Elba Island
Elba Island - Credit: Shutterstock.com / Luciano Mortula – LGM

Try not to miss a visit to the Isola d’Elba, with its fabulous campgrounds, ancient history, white beaches and the clear waters off the coasts of Poroferraio and Ghiaie, as well as the cliffs of Monte Capanne. It’s not hard to imagine why Jason and his Argonauts wanted to land here. Elba is one of the seven islands that make up the Tuscan Archipelago, a true natural paradise protected by the Arcipelago Toscano National Park. The other ialnds are Giglio, Capraia, Montecristo, Pianosa, Gorgona and Giannutri

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