The colours and the scents of Tuscany blend with the lights and the fragrance of the Mediterranean Sea along the Costa degli Etruschi. The Etruscan sites, the crystal-clear sea, the mediaeval villages, the natural parks and reserves, all make this land of Tuscany unique. Here every season of the year has its own striking beauty. You can choose: first of all the sea, edged with long beaches that border shady pinewoods or cliffs carved by the wind and the waves. This is a living corner of the Mediterranean Sea. Then nature. The environment, which is incredibly rich, shelters botanical oases, sanctuaries for fauna, woods and thick pine forests. The countryside is crossed by the prestigious Wine Route, characterized by noble vines and silver olive trees. This magic itinerary unwinding between the sea and the countryside gives you the opportunity to discover artistic, cultural and architectural treasures, the heritage of this land.
The Etruscans have left important traces of their past presence, such as the only necropolis ever built by the sea. Rare finds are carefully preserved in local museums. The historical villages, which have preserved their medieval architecture intact, provide ample evidence of the past. They rise on the hillsides at a short distance from the sea. A home to artists and a crossroads of peoples and cultures, Livorno, a town with an unusual past history, is a land of ancient tourist traditions. he Etruscan Coast: a land washed by the sea for over 90 kilometres. Tuscan land with the lights, colours and scents of the Mediterranean, where the sea is always the protagonist. This sea has been awarded the Blue Flag of the European Union and other major awards for its clean water and quality services. Along the Etruscan Coast, long rocky sections alternate with sandy beaches, with fine or coarse sand.
The beach is public and free, organized with the basic services, or equipped with well-established bathing facilities. Taverns and restaurants offer excellent seafood cuisine, paired with outstanding local wines. Greenery is everywhere, in the pine forests that surround the beaches, the forests and parks located a short distance from the coast and overlooking the sea, the city of Livorno and the prestigious tourist areas. Scuba diving, windsurfing, and sailing are just some of the water sports you can take part in, thanks to the habitat, the particular climatic conditions, and efficient services such as the sailing schools, sailing clubs, and the numerous and well-organized docks. And then there is the history, art, archaeology and hospitality of the friendly people that help to make the Etruscan Coast unique. Over 20% of the Costa degli Etruschi comprises Parks, protected areas, nature oases, and fauna reserves. Nature is not just a setting, but the very essence of this land with its dense stands of pine trees, woods and countryside rich with colours and scents. Of particular note are the Bolgheri WWF Oasis, a wet zone of international importance, the Magona Park and its biogenetic oasis, the Livorno Hills Park, which is of considerable historical-naturalistic interest, the Rimigliano Park flora and fauna oasis, the Orti-Bottagone oasis and the Sterpaia and Montioni parks.
Etruscan settlements by the sea, like the Baratti-Populonia Archaeological Park, museums full of Etruscan, Roman and Villanovan artefacts, such as those at Rosignano Marittimo, Cecina and Piombino, exhibitions and shows of international significance on the history of these places all bear witness to the historical importance of the Costa degli Etruschi. The San Silvestro Archaeo-mineral Park at Venturina is a real open-air museum where organized routes allow visitors to follow the various stages of metalworking in Etruscan and medieval times. This is an area rich in art and history, where musicians such as Mascagni and painters like Modigliani were born, and where Livorno-born Giovanni Fattori, helped found the Macchiaioli school. Permanent collections and internationally significant exhibitions keep this important heritage alive. Long-standing cultural institutions such as the Goldoni Theatre Foundation, Armunia and the Mascagni Musical Institute play an important role in promoting culture.
History lives on in the medieval towns and villages of Bolgheri, Populonia, Castagneto Carducci, Bibbona, Suvereto and Campiglia Marittima, small gems set among green hills and woods, a stone’s throw from the sea. The gastronomic specialities of the Costa degli Etruschi are known all over the world for their richness and variety. Fresh-caught fish is the main ingredient of hundreds of delicious recipes, from the famous cacciucco (fish stew), to black rice with squid ink, dentex, gilthead, calamari, shellfish and blue fish (like mackerel) now enjoying a revival, all cooked with flair and skill. Inland, dishes feature meat, such as beef from prized “Chianina” cattle, and game, particularly wild boar, All dishes are accompanied by vegetables. Local specialities include cheeses, honey, bread, cakes, chickpea “cake” and Livorno punch. The DOC wines of Bolgheri, Val di Cornia and Bibbona are produced along the Wine Route, as are world-renowned wines such as Sassicaia and Ornellaia. Olive oil is also a product of excellence.
A medieval village immersed in green just a few kilometres from the sea On the hill of Poggio al Bruno, south of the Cecina course, looking onto the coastal plains, surrounded by vineyards, olive trees and cereal fields can be found Casale Marittimo, a place known since the VIII for its ancient Church of St. Andrew.
Divided between Casale Vecchio and Casale Nuovo, the town is reunited under its current name; of the fortified medieval village remain traces of wall and the two gates. This ancient village is immersed in green and a short distance from the sea. Casale Marittimo also adds numerous archaeological sites, among which the famoustholos tomb, with cylinder tambour and central pillar from theVI century BC (currently conserved in the Archaeological Museum of Florence).
Bolgheri is located in the comune of Castagneto Carducci, a few kilometers north-west of the chief town and lies in the Province of Livorno in Italy, on the foothills of the Colline Metallifere, south of Bibbona.
Bolgheri became an internationally known region following an event in 1974 arranged by Decanter where a 6-year-old Sassicaia won over an assortment of Bordeaux wines. Prior to this, Bolgheri had been relatively anonymous producers of ordinary white wines and rosés.
Due to the particular characteristics of the soil and micro climate sunny, dry and moderately windy, the grape varieties of Bordeaux origin tend to thrive, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
Among the most known “Super Tuscan” producers are Tenuta San Guido who produce Sassicaia, Tenuta Dell’Ornellaia who produce Ornellaia, and Ca’Marcanda of Gaja, Guado al Tasso of Antinori.
The current set of DOC regulations for Bolgheri red wines became approved in 1994. Before the creation of this DOC, the “Super Tuscans” from the area were typically sold under the simpler designations Vino da tavola or IGT Toscana.
The appellation rules determine that in Bolgheri Rosso and Bolgheri Rosé, Sangiovese may be utilised only to a degree of 70%, and in excess of this a wine must be classified IGT. Cabernet Sauvignon from 10 to 80%, Merlot, up to 80% and other local red varieties, up to 30%. Rosso must be aged for 24 months.
For Bolgheri Bianco, Tuscan Trebbiano from 10 to 70%, Vermentino from 10 to 70%, Sauvignon blanc from 10 to 70% and other local white varieties, up to 30%.
Two varietal wines are permitted, Sauvignon blanc and Vermentino, of which there must be at least an 85% of either grape variety.
For the appellation’s pink Vin Santo,Occhio di Pernice, Sangiovese may be used from 50 to 70%, Malvasia near from 50 to 70% and other local red varieties, up to 30%. It must be aged for 36 months.
The sub-zone Sassicaia has its own appellation declaration, with up to 85% of Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc. Bolgheri Sassicaia must be aged for 26 months. It is expected to be upgraded to DOCG status
Castiglioncello is a part of the town of Rosignano Marittimo, in the province of Livorno, Tuscany, Italy. It stands on a promontory reaching out into the Ligurian Sea, surrounded by pinewoods and hills that fall right down to the sea forming cliffs, little inlets, coves and sandy beaches.
The area was inhabited in Etruscan and Roman times, as attested by the presence of an ancient necropolis. The Medici Grand Dukes of Tuscany had a watch tower built here in the 17th century.
Castiglioncello has been a renowned sea resort since the 19th century. People who made their homes here include Luigi Pirandello, Marcello Mastroianni, Luchino Visconti and Vittorio Gassman.
The Macchiaioli, a group of Italian artists active in Tuscany in the second half of the nineteenth century who had some points in common with the French Impressionists, chose Castiglioncello as an inspirational focus for their work. Macchiaioli painters who dedicated time to Castiglioncello included Giovanni Fattori, Silvestro Lega and Telemaco Signorini, among others.
Places of interest
• Castello Pasquini: the castle was built between 1889 and 1891 in a style similar to that used for the Florentine palaces of the Middle Ages.
• Chiesa dell’Immacolata Concezione: the construction of the church was begun in 1922. The dome dates from the years immediately following the World War II, when the building was restored following wartime damage.
• Oratorio di Sant’Andrea Apostolo (Chiesa di Sant’Andrea): The church stands on the ruins of a 17th-century oratory. The present structure dates from 1864.
• Torre di Castiglioncello: The tower dates back to 17th century and was part of the system of sight of the coast of Livorno. It underwent some changes in the 1800.
• National Archaeological Museum: set up at the beginning of the 20th century, it was closed around 1972-1973 but was reopened in 2001. • Monte Pelato (Poggio Pelato): the highest hill in the town has many paths for hiking, and provides views of the Mediterranean, as well as the remains of mines for magnesite.
Situated on a tall hill, Volterra is one of the oldest towns in Tuscany It is an Etruscan settlement with finds that date back to the IX century BC. Worth a visit are: Palazzo dei Priori, the oldest public building in Tuscany and the remains of the large Roman theatre built around the birth of Christ. A centre of Villanovan culture in the period between IX and VII centuries BC, the ancient Velathri became, in the Etruscan period, the capital town of one of the twelve lacumonie (religious city states), surrounding itself with strong walls until the V century BC and extending throughout the hill in an area much vaster than today. The walls and the splendid dominating position made the town easily defendable, as proved by the fact that it was the last Etruscan centre to suffer the military and cultural domination by the Romans. In the V century Volterra was an important bishopry seat and the influence of the bishops was protracted for some centuries, until the consolidation of the town as a free Council. It was in this period that the main public buildings and the last of the city walls were constructed, a period, furthermore, characterised also by the struggle between the Guelph and Ghibelline families.
It was this internal division that favoured the advent of the Florentine domination, making it an important military centre in the struggle against Siena. The Medici wanted also to strengthen the defensive structures by building the fortress that was to become a rather conspicuous element of the urban structure of the town. A structure that, today, shows obvious signs of all historic periods making Volterra a true open air museum. The walls and the gates are of the Etruscan period, the archaeological area with the Theatre and Roman Forum (open daily from 11am to 5pm), the Palazzo dei Priori, the Municipal Palazzo, the Cathedral, the Baptistry and the walls are from the period of the Medieval communes. The Guarnacci museum is one of the oldest public museums in Europe: founded in 1761 when the noble abbot Mario Guarnacci (Volterra 1701-1785) gave his vast archaeological property, gathered over years of research and purchases, to the people of the city of Volterra.
The donation that also included a library of over 50,000 volumes was an act of extreme farsightedness as, as well as giving the city a very important cultural instrument, avoided the danger that the vast, accumulated heritage could be lost. Guarnacci, a very erudite historian, author, among other things, of a book about the oldest inhabitants of Italy (Le Origini Italiche, Lucca 1767) that at the moment of publishing caused lively polemic reactions among the erudite environments, certainly had the great merit of attracting attention to Volterra from the great intellects of the time such as Giovanni Lami, Scipione Maffei, Anton Franceso Gori, who dedicated themselves to the scientific diffusion of the material of his collection via important publications and constant news on magazines such as Le Novelle Letterarie (Literary Tales), published in Florence by the same Lami.