The Historic Towns … The double rows of cypresses in Bolgheri, the Castello della Gerardesca in Castagneto Carducci, the historic settlement of Castello della Gerardesca in Castagneto Carducci, the renowned bread of Borgo di Montegemoli and also Suvereto, Campiglia Marittima and Rosignano are only some of the wonders offered around the Buca del Gatto Hotel.
The itineraries that can be followed to discover the most beautiful areas of the surrounding area are limitless. Whichever one you choose will lead you through cultivated fields, mediaeval towns, woods, valleys and gentle hills. There are also many relic of this area’s glorious past: Etruscan necropolises, ancient Roman villas, castles, towers and fortifications, also coastal, enrich the natural landscape. The artistic heritage found inside parish churches, churches, monasteries and abbeys and in the numerous museums of sacred art is also not to be neglected.
Castiglioncello Born as an Etruscan village on the Tyrrhenian Coast, the settlement stands on a small promontory which is the last offshoot of the Livorno mountains. The cliffs dropping down to the sea and the small windswept rocky inlets have made it the favourite destination for sailing and windsurfing fans. There are plenty of well organised bathing establishments in the bays and more secluded small beaches. A splendid walk to the sea links Punta Righini to the small tourist harbour of nearby Rosignano passing through the green area of the Marradi Pine Forest.
Home to the Macchiaioli art school, a movement started in the “Caffè degli Artisti” of Florence, it was attended over time by such luminaries as Pirandello, Gassman, Mina, Sordi and Spadolini who made it an elite tourist location. Even today it is frequented by intellectuals and artists who like to spend the summer in these locations.
Nicknamed the Pearl of the Tyrrhenian, it was awarded the EU Blue Flag and offers the opportunity to practise sports among which tennis, sailing and trekking on the hills of the hinterland. Excellent hospitality and quality dishes based on fresh fish characterise this renowned tourist destination.
Guardistallo and Montescudaio Guardistallo stands on a scenic position at about 280 m above sea level, it extends in a horseshoe shape for about 24 km2 encompassing the valley which separates it from the coast (only 10 km). Already inhabited in the Neolithic time and area of transit for the Etruscan people, the core of the town can be traced back to the Lombard era. The castle dominating the town’s landscape was built around the eighth century AD. Even today, Guardistallo has kept the look that characterised it in the Middle Ages.
On the other hand, Montescudaio is a mediaeval town that had an important strategic military role. From the central square of the castle, the view is endless and on calm days you can see the islands of Gorgona and Capraia; the characteristic houses with tile-covered roofs are below the large square. The well-preserved town walls still show, among others, the ancient Torre Guardiola. Also of particular interest is the 13th century Civic Tower and the Church of Santissima Annunziata.
Bibbona The original core settlement is in the hinterland nested in a marvellous country setting; the town has its outlet to the sea at the resort of Marina di Bibbona which today is a well-organised summer resort with bathing establishments and tourist facilities, with plenty of opportunities for entertainment and sport.
Stone-paved alleys and small mediaeval squares abound in the historic centre creating a particularly suggestive atmosphere. On the coast, the Fort stands out, a military building from the 1700s built by the Lorena family. Near Bibbona, there is the Macchia della Magona, a woodland area qualifying as a biogenetic park where particular species of plants and animals survive. Inside, there are several km of nature trails which go as far as Val di Cornia and the hinterland of Volterra.
Castagneto Carducci The area of Castagneto Carducci is large and varied; there you can find gentle sun-drenched hills, vast fields cultivated with vines and olives, farmhouses, villas and farm holdings dotted about the countryside, sandy beaches bathed by the blue sea, shady pine forests and marsh areas bearing witness to the past of the Maremma. The view from the town extends down to the coast and the Tuscan Archipelagos passing over valleys, streams and woods.
The historic centre is characterised by scenic natural terraces, mediaeval buildings, amongst which the scenic Parish Church of San Lorenzo and the Church of the Most Holy Crucifix stand out, ancient craft shops and restaurants offering typical cuisine. The Municipality, originally called Castagneto Marittimo, changed its name at the beginning of the 1900s to honour the poet Giosuè Carducci who lived there during most of his childhood.
There are also the resorts of Marina and Donoratico on the coast; in modern times, these have become bathing destinations on the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Bolgheri Bolgheri is a hamlet inside the Municipal area of Castagneto. The long avenue flanked by centuries-old cypresses and leading up to entrance to this unique charming town was also mentioned by Carducci in his poem “Davanti a San Guido”. Many other roads in the area, just like the famous avenue, meander forlorn in the green of the fields and of the cultivated hills.
The entry arch to the centre of the town is incorporated into the mediaeval construction of the Castello di Bolgheri, ancient property of the Della Gherardesca family. The fortified heart of Castiglioncello di Bolgheri with the Church of San Bernardo is in the upper part of the town.
The countryside is affected by a hot windy climate, ideal for agriculture. The internationally best known and appreciated products of the land are most definitely the red wines from the area, which drive from a combination of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot grape varieties.
The most famous wines are the Sassicaia, the Ornellaia and the Masseto but also the Grattamacco, the Guado al Tasso and Le Macchiole. All are recognised with the DOC label.
Recently recognised by the New York Tines as one of the ten most beautiful tourist cities in the world, Bolgheri guarantees excellent hospitality and good cuisine. You can enjoy warm hospitality and genuine cuisine in the farm holdings of the countryside which have been transformed into characteristic farm holiday accommodations, bed & breakfasts and hotels.
Sassetta, Suvereto and Campiglia Sassetta is a small town of mediaeval origin, first mentioned around the year 1100. The town stands on a hill from the top of which the view goes down to the sea framed by chestnut groves and Mediterranean forests. There is a multitude of paths for trekking and nature walks on foot or on horseback in the woods around the settlement. There are many craft shops, where you can buy the typical local agricultural produce, and a multitude of accommodation facilities in contact with the natural environment.
Suvereto stands in the Val di Cornia, a land of traditions and great red wines, at the foot of the hills that dominate the sea. This town is full of history. It was founded before the year 1000 and its culture perpetuates the traditional activities of crafts and agriculture, as well as the use of cork, chestnut and oak woods.
The town, enclosed within the walls, is characterised by picturesque stone-paved alleys flanked by historic palaces, churches and small squares.
Campiglia is a mediaeval town that has preserved important evidence of the Etruscan/Roman period, also visible in the Parco Archeominerario di San Silvestro. You can enjoy a magnificent view over the valley and the sea from the hill on which the town stands. Olive groves, vineyards and Mediterranean scrub characterise the area’s vegetation. The town is culturally very active. Historical re-enactments, theatrical shows and concerts in the Teatro dei Concordi are organised throughout the year.
Populonia and Baratti
The two small towns, which are part of the Municipality of Piombino, are on the seaside in the bay which takes the name of Gulf of Baratti. Several Etruscan tombs, excavated in the inlets at the foot of the hills, have been found in the area. The necropolises are now included inside the Archaeological Park of Baratti and Populonia. This area of about 80 hectares is a true open-air museum.
Populonia is one of the few examples of an Etruscan city built on the coast. Its traditional metallurgical activity of iron production, once practised by the Etruscans, has made it famous from time immemorial. The original core settlement stands on a low hill to protect it from the frequent raids of pirates and brigands. Its centre, encircled by walls built around the 15th century, the period when the Fortress was also raised, is characterised by narrow stone-paved lanes, historical palaces, shops and craft studios.
Baratti is a well-known tourist resort overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is also a tourist destination for historical and cultural reasons thanks to the presence of the Etruscan necropolises. Its sandy coasts are frequented by onlookers, especially in the summer, but there are also plenty of visitors in the small historic centre. The Tower of Baratti and the Chapel San Cerbone stand out from the other buildings in the port.