Departure/arrival: From Castiglione della Pescaia to Marina di Carrara
Kinds of roads: mixed: hillsides, mountains
Program your GPS: Castiglione della Pescaia, Piombino, Populonia, Campiglia Marittima, Suvereto, Castagneto Carducci, Donoratico, Bolgheri, Montescudaio, Riparbella, Pomaia, Castiglioncello, Ardenza, Livorno (Fortezza Vecchia), Marina di Pisa, Pisa (Piazza dei Miracoli), Via Aurelia/SS1, Quiesa, Viareggio, Marina di Carrara.
We set off from Castiglione della Pescaia, with its famous Castello Aragonese that dominates the landscape and looks out over the coast. The seaside town is a destination point for its fine sandy beaches and lively town centre. Once on the road, we follow the coves and head towards Rocchette. Cutting through the pinelands on SS3222, we turn towards Follonica. If you love golf, take the turn to the left for Punta Ala. Our destination is Piombino, and we follow the salt ponds and the Torre del Sale farm. Apart from being the boarding point for ferries that go to the islands of the Tuscan archipelago, there is a nice surprise: visit Piazza Bovio and its castle. The old Etruscan city of Populonia is the perfect place for a cultural stop: worth visiting are both the Fortezza and the Necropolis. Also worth visiting is the golf course of Baratti. We head inland and visit two fabulous towns: Campiglia Marittima and Suvereto. Then the road makes us smile with its winding turns; it leads us back to the coast, to Donoratico, where we pass through Castagneto Carducci the birthplace of Giosue Carducci, our own homespun poet. A brief return to the Aurelia allows us to enjoy the splendor of the cypress trees, which introduce us to Bolgheri and its castle. We drive along, stopping at Montescudaio: on a clear day from the piazza in front of the Church you can see the islands of Capraia, Gorgona and Elba.
Hungry for curves and bends, we go on in the direction of Riparbella following playful roads which take us on to Castellina Marittima and Pomaia, the latter of the two which is famous for the Baccello food fest and a Tibetan monastery. A new descent towards the sea takes us to Castiglioncello, a meeting point for bikers in the piazza at the weekend. Now, it’s important to follow the route along the old Aurelia, whilst also avoiding the superstrada. The littoral road gives us fabulous views that exult the port of Livorno. After passing Quercianella, look for the turn off to the right that leads to Sanctuary of Montener: this panoramic deviation follows the road of a historic uphill race. Terrazza Mascagni, Fortezza Vecchia, the Venetian quarter: this area deserves more than just a glance. Make note: an event not to be missed is the Effetto Venezia. From Livorno to Pisa, it’s a hop, skip and jump: we follow the Parco Naturale di Migliarino and then climb towards the Quiesa and enjoy a few twisty turns that land us in Viareggio: the city of Burlamacco, the official masque of the Tuscan carnival. The final leg includes a journey along the sea, with its view of Versilia and its elegant Forte dei Marmi and intellectual Pietrasanta. The journey ends at the Marina of Carrara.