Florence has its Renaissance charm, Siena has its narrow streets with red-brick medieval palaces, and Lucca has its historic city wall and its air of elegance. These are the landmark locations that come to mind in Tuscany. Livorno, however, is a city rarely visited by tourists, so it has a straightforward, honest appeal, with a lot to offer for food lovers!
Along with Livorno, visitors can add the Etruscan Coast to their travel plans. The coast gets its name from the Etruscans who chose this area, with Populonia, as ideal places to build their communities. Populonia was, in fact, the only Etruscan city on that coast.
Cuisine, postcard-perfect scenery, history, and archaeology: The Etruscan Coast has a lot to offer for a long-weekend trip.
In the morning, visitors can spend several hours leisurely browsing the Vettovaglie Market, also known as the Central Market or Covered Market. It is not only an architectural marvel, but also one of the largest markets in Europe. Visitors will see the impressive building, with neoclassical elements, influenced by European architectural styles of the 19th century that preferred the use of iron and glass.
Just outside of the market, guests can try the delicious cinque e cinque, five and five, a chickpea tart, also known simply as the tart of Gagarin, a typical street food dish in Livorno.
For lunch, tourists can stop at the Medici Port, slightly past the ports of Sardinia, Corsica, and Capraia, and sit on the Aragosta veranda. This is an historic place, having existed since 1914, and characteristic of Livorno, as it lays right in the heart of the city. After lunch, visitors can head towards the Terrazza Mascagni, where all of the Livornesi, including families and residents both young and old, stroll by as they admire the sea.
From there, tourists can reach the Civic Museum of Giovanni Fattori, and continue down the path by the sea, arriving at the New Venice quarter, the true historic center of Livorno. Over the summer, this is where the Effetto Venezia festival is held, with stalls, concerts, and shows.
Don’t forget to try a ponce dish at the Civili bar as a tasty way to end the day!
Somewhat to the south of Livorno, following a coastal road, sits Castiglioncello, a town that offers breath-taking views of the sea and many great places for an aperitif. The best of these spots is Ginori Café, famous since the 1960s for its dolce vita image.
As you head along the coast on your way to Castiglioncello, you can stop on the side of the road in either Calafuria or Quercianella, two of the most beloved beaches in the area.
Further inland, Castagneto Carducci and Bolgheri are definitely worth a visit, both for their literary charm and for their world-famous wine, Sassicaia. Sassicaia is a high-quality, DOC-certified product exclusive to the Tenuta San Guido company.
Continuing along the coast, you’ll arrive at San Vincenzo, a destination with a lot of coastal tourism but also a city popular for its blue fish, la palamita. Here, visitors can find numerous seafood restaurants that are worth eating in, from the Buccaneer of Fulvietto to Pierangelini to the Pearl of the Sea, where people can try the refined cuisine of Deborah Corsi.
Further along is the sailor’s path, a pedestrian route that winds through the rocks, and this path will lead tourists to the bronze statue of Giampaolo Talani. The view of Saint Vincenzo from the water is stunning and unforgettable.
To the South lies the Gulf of Baratti, an oasis that is much more tranquil than the beaches of Castiglioncello.
Nearby, one can visit the Archeological Park of Baratti and Populonia, where there is a trove of historical knowledge waiting to be discovered, starting with the Etruscan settlements, and moving through Roman ruins and medieval strongholds.
Later, visitors can go from archeology to architecture with a visit to the Petra Cellars, which are very interesting both for lovers of wine and for those who are passionate about great architecture. The structure of the cellars was designed by Mario Botta and rises atop the hills just outside Suvereto.
To finish this tour, visitors can enjoy Suvereto, a medieval town with a calendar full of summer festivities.