60 km from the Hotel Prategiano in Maremma Tuscany: The Park of the Val di Cornia, in the province of Livorno, stretches along the coastal strip of land opposite the Island of Elba. It provides testimony to the thousand-year-old story entwining the ancient Etruscan town of Populonia, past activity of mining and metal-working, and the splendid natural environments of the Mediterranean sea and scrub.
The various archaeological and natural sites of this Park makes this area an interesting alternative to the traditional tourist destinations. It is a place where nature and archaeology converge, letting you discover the charm of the “Toscana Minore”.
THE MUNICIPALITIES OF THE VAL DI CORNIA
Piombino, situated on a headland facing the Tuscan Archipelago, has a wealth of interesting history and protected natural areas, making it one of the loveliest, most fascinating areas of the Costa degli Etruschi. Remains from the Etruscans are preserved in the Baratti-Populonia Archaeological Park.
Piombino, which was governed for a time by Napoleon's sister, Elisa Bonaparte, was an important center in Medieval and Renaissance times. Old traditions survive side by side with today's dynamic and efficient town.
The setting spans kilometers of coastline with sparkling sea, nature reserves and productive countryside crossed by the Costa degli Etruschi Wine Route, home to Val di Cornia DOC wines. All kinds of water sports can be enjoyed here, and the countryside is full of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. And, of course, there are many local dishes to try made with fish or products from the countryside.
Here, wide beaches of fine, white sand meet a cobalt sea. Dense, shady pinewoods border the beach and are crossed with trails for walking, hiking and horseback riding. San Vincenzo combines natural beauty with the amenities of a welcoming, hospitable resort, making it an international tourist destination where relaxing holidays can be enjoyed all year round.
San Vincenzo has been inhabited since before the Etruscans. Today, it is a modern, efficient town offering a wide variety of holiday accommodation and sports facilities, in addition to a well-equipped harbour for pleasure crafts. It is internationally renowned for is restaurants, which offer dishes based on local products, and for the excellent wines from the area. The Rimigliano Nature Reserve with its varied and protected environment, the nearby medieval villages, the Etruscan remains at Baratti and Campiglia and the Venturina spas make San Vincenzo ideal for a visit on the Etruscan Coast.
Situated on a hill overlooking the sea and the surrounding countryside, Campiglia Marittima is one of the loveliest old hill towns on the Etruscan Coast. Here, in heart of the Val di Cornia where ancient traditions live on, remains of Etruscan, Roman and Medieval civilisations can be found. The Val Fucinaia furnaces and the San Silvestro Archaeological-Mineral Park (a splendid open-air museum) tell the fascinating story of how metal was worked from Etruscan times to the present. The Caldana Hot Springs at Venturina - already in use in Etruscan and Roman times - is today a well equipped spa facility for mental and physical well-being.
The Costa degli Etruschi Wine Route - home of the prestigious Val di Cornia DOC wines, winds through olive groves, vineyards and Mediterranean scrub, where farms and producers of the excellent local extra-virgin olive oil and other delicious specialities can be found. History and folklore come alive during the festivals and events held every year to celebrate feast days and the changing seasons.
This town is a splendid medieval village whose origins date back before the year 1000. It is rich in history and art and sits on the slopes of the hills overlooking the Etruscan Coast in the green valley of the River Cornia. The town displays an enchanting architectural harmony. Its ancient walls enclose paved streets lined with stone houses, historical buildings, impressive churches, and shadowy cloisters.
Thick cork, chestnut and oak forests, and Mediterranean scrub grow down to the sea. The Wine Route winds its way through a countryside rich with grapevines and centuries-old olive trees. The region is swarming with agricultural enterprises, oil mills, wineries, and farm-holiday resorts where you can try local products and traditional dishes. It is an ideal region for horseback riding, mountain biking, cycling or walking. The town keeps its antique traditions alive through magical festivals inspired by history and folklore. Thanks to the mild climate, these are held all year long.
Sassetta is a charming little historical village on the Etruscan Coast, set among woods and stands of chestnuts on a hilltop overlooking the sea.This medieval stronghold still contains reminders of its past, including the Romanesque baptismal font, a 15th-century painting of the Virgin, a rock crystal crucifix (15th-16th century) and other paintings which are to be found in the ancient church of St. Andrew Apostle.The woods are full of trails for hiking, cycling and horseback riding. Numerous agricultural holdings offer holiday accommodation and local produce.
In Sassetta, old traditions handed down through the years are kept alive with colourful, folklore events. Sassetta's delicious, wholesome food is celebrated at the autumn festivals.