Hidden Tuscany: Baratti and Populonia

Not only does Tuscany have beautiful and important medieval and renaissance cities but it has a majestic coastline. One of my favorite areas of the coast is about 120 km south of Lucca in the Province of Livorno known as Baratti/Populonia. Baratti is the beach area and Populonia is the Etruscan town just 3 km above Baratti along a winding scenic road. Many remains of the Etruscan tombs have been uncovered in the area.

The winter may not seem like the time to post about the beach, but even in winter the sea is beautiful. If planning a trip in the spring or summer, allow yourself a day to travel here and enjoy the Italian coast at its finest.

The beach in Baratti is a gulf of about 5 km. It has a beach with darker sand than that you find in Viareggio, for example.  The reason for this is because the Etruscans worked the iron collected from Isola d’Elba. The water is crystal clear and so inviting for a nice long swim. The natural beauty is mostly undisturbed by very few buildings, only farmhouses that have been around for decades. There are many, many pine trees.

Populonia is a small village on the hill above the gulf. If you go, it might be hard to leave the beautiful sea, but take a trek up to visit the castle of Populonia and of course relish in the views of the area and the Gulf of Baratti.  This is really worth a day trip and maybe even more!

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