Just ten kilometers from the coast stretching from Piombino to Castiglioncello lies Bolgheri, a beautiful hamlet in such a picturesque landscape, it seems to have come straight off the canvas of a painting. Though this town has a population of just over 100, its fame for producing some of the world’s best wines means that it is always lively with visitors stopping in to try the world renowned Bolgheri Super Tuscan wines straight from the source. Where else would be a more appropriate setting than the narrow stone lanes and colorful cafes to taste the passion of this fairytale town than in Bolgheri itself?
For a long time, Bolgheri wine was unknown to the world outside of the Costa degli Etruschi, then in 1978, a Bolgheri area wine called Sassicaia beat a series of Bordeaux wines in a blind tasting organized by Decanter Magazine instantly putting the on the world stage. Though the world of wine may have been shocked, it came as no surprise to the locals who have known for generations that the micro climate in the surrounding area was not only a dream to live in, but also was ideal to produce fantastic wines. Peeling back the layers of history, it makes even more sense that Bolgheri, in the Etruscan coast, would punch above its weight against the giant French wine producers. It was, after all, the Etruscans who taught the French how to make wine when they introduced winemaking to Southern France in around 525 B.C.
Though Bolgheri wines have soared in both fame and popularity since their major coup in 1978, the town has remained refreshingly humble and loyal to their roots. In this area, you will find numerous vineyards and wine producers, but unlike other places that cater to mass tourism, Bolgheri and the surrounding hills are still open for active travelers to roam and enjoy as locals have done for generations. Bolgheri itself is a great place from which to start a hike, a gravel bike, or mountain bike ride to immerse oneself in the countryside. As a bonus, there’s always a glass of wine waiting to be enjoyed with a warm sea breeze drifting up the golden hillside through the vineyards and cypress trees.
Whether you prefer to walk or ride through the rolling hills overlooking the coast, you’ll be constantly looking forward to the view over the next ridge. While the coast below is renowned for being more wild and remote than other beaches in Tuscany, the landscape slightly up the hillside around Bolgheri and Bibbona is typically Tuscan with rolling white gravel roads, cypress lined lanes, hilltop towns, and of course acres and acres of vineyards and olive groves. Here, active travelers walk and ride through a dreamscape.
Arriving to Bolgheri:
Whether you plan to run, ride, or just enjoy a traditionally cooked Tuscan meal with an ample amount of Bolgheri wine in the town center, you should arrive via the Viale dei Cipressi. This ancient road leading from the coast into town is as impressive as the town itself. The road is 5km long and is completely straight and lined with around 2400 massive cypress trees on either side, giving whoever arrives in town a regal welcome. It’s a scene that travelers will not soon forget.