This month, we would like to help you discover a strip of land lying between the pleasant, yellow-gold hills of the Leghorn hinterlands and the cobalt blue of the Tyrrhenian Sea. This area was once called the “maremma of Leghorn,” although it is better known today as Costa degli Etruschi. This area is located just inland from the coast of the province of Leghorn and stretches from the city to Piombino. It takes its name from the Etruscans, who inhabited the area more than 3000 years ago and whose striking settlements between Baratti and Populonia are still mostly visible today. This land - swept by the Libeccio winds - is not just rich in history and traditions; it is also the birthplace of artists such as Modigliani and Mascagni. Its strong connection with the past is still visible in every rock and crevice of its numerous, outstanding medieval hamlets, such as for example Bolgheri, Populonia and Suvereto: precious gems set amidst the rolling green hills of Ligurian countryside, where nature acts not just as their setting but is part of their essence as well.
In fact, these lands have often been immortalised by the Macchiaioli and many of the pine groves, woods and hills featured in their paintings now belong to protected areas. Yet, how can we describe these “coastal” lands without
mentioning their rich culinary traditions and world-famous delicacies. In particular, the majestic cacciucco stands out amongst the many fish dishes of the area, while its wide range of meat-based dishes also include excellent game and the famous “chianina” steak. Without forgetting its wines. Although production in the area is not vast, its labels are internationally renowned! Who has not heard of the famous “supertuscans” Sassicai and Ornellaia, whose excellence is due to the unique features of the area in which they are produced? If you are looking for relaxation, Costa degli Etruschi is the right place for you.
Its award-winning beaches offer visitors a wide array of choices, from the sandy shores of San Vincenzo and Bibbona to fascinating, rockier areas such as Castiglioncello - with its rich sea floor which is a real treat for scuba diving enthusiasts - and have been the recipients of several European prizes. Lastly, for those who are looking for a trendier and more relaxing holiday, the area also features the wellness centres of Venturina and Val di Cornia. Here, guests can enjoy some exceptional thermal baths as well as Turkish Baths. Costa degli Etruschi: a strip of land lying between pleasant, yellow-gold hills and the cobalt blue Tyrrhenian Sea where visors can enjoy the same emotions that have fascinated painters, musicians and writers through the centuries.
(Portions of this article first appeared in "Toscana & Chianti News")