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Photo © / Mikadun
Photo © / Mikadun

Hiking through the historic villages on the Tuscan coast

Discovering the region’s heritage of traditions and culture, walking alongside the sea

It’s certainly hard to be bored walking along the Tuscan coast, visiting beaches of fine sand in the small villages clinging to the cliffs and in hidden bays. And then there’s an inland that invites you to discover its varied landscape of mountains and hills with views of the sea.

Torre del Lago Puccini
Torre del Lago Puccini - Credit: / faber1893

To the north, Marina di Massa, Forte dei Marmi and Pietrasanta are in the perfect positions. The flat coast and long beaches make them traditional places for summer holidays, but the Apuan Alps behind the cities remind us that there’s always the option of enjoying the silence of the forest.

Further south, starting at the boardwalk in Viareggio, you can walk through beaches and pine groves, as well as the Migliarino, San Rossore and Massaciuccoli Park, before reaching Marina di Vecchiano and the mouth of the Serchio River, followed by Torre del Lago Puccini. The village is forever linked to the memory of Giacomo Puccini, who lived here for 30 years starting in 1891. The Italian composer, considered one of the most renowned in history, is buried in a chapel in the Villa Puccini Museum.

The coast of Quercianella
The coast of Quercianella - Credit: / StevanZZ

Continuing to the south, immersed in the silence of the Mediterranean scrub, Quercianella looks out over the crystal-clear sea, which boasts cliffs, pebble beaches and hidden coves, ideal for diving and snorkelling enthusiasts. From the town, you can embark on a hike along the historic mule tracks that lead to the Sanctuary of Montenero, consecrated in 1575 by Benedictine monks from Vallombrosa.

The crystal-clear waters in the Castiglioncello bay
The crystal-clear waters in the Castiglioncello bay - Credit: / Marco Porcu

The ancient Etruscan village of Castiglioncello, situated on a small promontory, is nicknamed the “pearl of the Tyrrhenian” because of its red rocks dotting the cliffs hanging over the water, the hidden bays and the transparent water of its beaches. From here, you can hike the “Anello delle Spianate,” a ring route along the ridge with a panoramic view of the Livorno coast and Pisan plains.

The ports of Bibbona, Cecina and Castagneto Carducci all boast beaches of fine sand, Mediterranean scrub and relaxing pine groves. In particular, the Tomboli di Cecina Nature Reserve includes a 5-kilometre long trail leading from Marina di Cecina to Marina di Bibbona. The Baratti Gulf and its archeological park are close by now: the ancient Etruscan town of Populonia was the main port for handling the minerals extracted on the Isola d’Elba. Near the medieval village that sits atop a hill, you can walk the Via dei Cavalleggeri, a trail ordered by Cosimo I de’ Medici for defense purposes that leads to unspoilt coves like Buca delle Fate.

The sea is crystal-clear all along the Etruscan Coast, with alternating sandy beaches and steep cliffs up to Piombino, where you can stroll through the medieval centre and down to the old port, surrounded by the aromas of the restaurants and the smell of the sea.

/shared/visittuscany/immagini/blogs/idea/shutterstock_712034707.jpg - Credit: / Llelo

Moving toward the Grosseto coast, beyond Follonica, Castiglione della Pescaia awaits, a small town with ancient origins. Not far from here, at Punta Ala, a hiking trail begins that leads to one of the wildest and most unspoilt beaches on the coast, Cala Violina.

Principina a Mare and the Talamone Gulf are linked by one of the most beautiful protected areas in Italy, the Maremma Park, offering amazing hiking opportunities. At a slow pace, you can reach Cannelle surrounded by the fragrance of the Mediterranean scrub but still enjoying a view of the sea!

Monte Argentario
Monte Argentario - Credit: / Oscity

The Argentario Promontory is a paradise for hikers thanks to itineraries that connect the three main towns across the sea and the nearby mountains: Porto Ercole, Porto Santo Stefano – this tiring hike between the two towns is a classic one – and Orbetello, nestled between the sea and the lagoon and a WWF Oasis.

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