buca delle fate - piombino

The Etruscan Coast: Piombino and Populonia

Sample local specialties like baccalĂ , squid, octopus and cacciuco--the local fish stew

Once the ancient port of Falesia, modern day Piombino offers two panoramic viewpoints to appreciate the coastline. Piazza Bovio is a natural terrace offering a stunning view over the sea, and the old port is the perfect place to observe the frenetic activity of the fishing port with its daily auction. Paved streets are lined restaurants, wine bars and taverns where you can indulge in the catch of the day and local wines. This region is rich in culinary offerings, including baccalà and potatoes, the local fish stew - caciucco, cuttlefish, and stewed or stuffed mussels. A stroll through "Little Paris," whose name refers back to the rule of Elisa Bonaparte, takes you past historic buildings which highlight the importance of Piombino in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. These include the Rivellino, the Palazzo Nuovo, and the 16th century castle built by Cesare Borgia to defend the city.

Visit in August and you'll have the chance to attend "Agosto con Gusto," a major food and wine fair that celebrates the cultural and culinary traditions of Piombino. The Museum of the Citadel and the City is the perfect place to find out more about the city's prehistoric, Etruscan and Roman past. Following the coastline are a number of bike and trekking paths which lead through the Mediterranean scrub towards the modern tourism port of Salivoli and past a number of family-run cellars open for visits and tastings. Stop in the Baia di Calamoresca for a tasty treat of grilled seafood and fish.

And don't miss a stop at the celebrated Medieval village of Populonia. Stop at the 15th century Fortress and the Archeology Museum which includes ancient Roman and Etruscan artefacts before heading down the hill to the Baratti Gulf and the Archeological Park of Baratti-Populonia. Spread over about 80 hectare this beautiful park includes an Etruscan necropolis and a number of ruins which are easily reached by following the marked paths.

After an afternoon learning about the Etruscans, stop at the Baratti Gulf, once a port for both the Etruscans and the Romans, for a taste of genuine local products and an unforgettable view.