The Val di Cecina

The Val di Cecina runs along the river Cecina in the southern part of the Pisa province and into the central portion of the Livorno province. This land of hills and rivers opens towards the sea in the west, where its thousand years history of human activity is connected with natural and environmental resources. In addition to examples of Etruscan, Roman and medieval history, the Val di Cecina brings together a number of environments: from the agrarian Volterra landscape, to the forest complex of the Berignone, Montenero and Monterufoli Nature Reserve; from the impervious Metallifere hills to the vast flood planes of the Cecina river.

A land rich in mineral resources – more than other areas in Tuscany – the area’s geological landscape is characterized by the geothermal energy fields in Larderello, with underground geysers and thermal springs, striking crags of Volterra, clay cliffs and vast green rocks, each feature presents various minerals, especially copper and the famous local chalcedony. Visiting ancient trails, the numerous Etruscan sites or the splendid forests of the Reserves means understanding the history of man and its thousand years relationship with nature.

The Costa degli Etruschi

The Costa degli Etruschi is a coastline carved by the intensity of nature and the strength of its colours, beautiful beaches and a thousand-years history. The Etruscans loved this section of the Tuscan coast during their day – they left marks of their past in every corner of the seaside here, an invitation to explore this mysterious land. The perfect destination for outdoor sports enthusiasts, the Etruscan Coast furnishes a fantastic range of options thanks to the numerous trails for hiking, horse riding and mountain biking, in addition to crystal clear waters, the myriad beaches and reefs, such as Calafuria, a stone’s throw from the Mediterranean bush and extensive pine groves.

A superb way to discover the Etruscan Coast is to take the Aurelia. Leave Livorno and venture south, not unlike Vittorio Gassman and Jean-Louis Trintignant in their 1962 film Sorpasso. At any point along your journey, veer off your route to explore reefs and sand, like in Castiglioncello, where the coastal greenery presents itself as the thickest imaginable pine grove, further away from the sea. You will find it all along this coastline: from dark to the lightest, finest sand, the best bathing establishments or public beaches without a soul in sight. Or head for the shade along hiking trails or on horseback, from the pinewoods of Vada as far as San Vincenzo, flanked by the “tall, frank” cypress trees so dear to local poet Giosuè Carducci.

Be enchanted by the inland areas with their fields, vineyards, hills, Etruscan remains and perfectly preserved towns, a realm of quietude where the sea and its scent still makes its presence felt. The Etruscans, a people dedicated to business and life’s pleasures, built Populonia here, perched on a hill dominating the Gulf of Baratti. The necropolis makes visitors wonder about the wishes and secrets of this mysterious people, whose treasures still remain to this day.

Then there’s the food: gastronomic dishes like cacciucco or moreish vegetable soups. A visit to the Etruscan coast would not be the same without the region’s world-renowned fine wines, from Bolgheri DOC to Sassicaia.