Gulf of Follonica

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The Gulf of Follonica is a picturesque bay in the Tyrrhenian Sea, about 50 km of coastline which includes wild sandy beaches such as Cala Violina, more equipped ones such as Torre Mozza, but also rocky coves such as Cala Martina. You can decide whether to stick to one beach, if you have a favourite one, or explore new ones and change beach every day! You will be spoilt for choice. Beaches are not the only thing tourists are interested in, and in fact there are also several interesting towns in the area such as Follonica and Punta Ala Toscana.

So let's spend a few words on the wonderful Follonica gulf, just to understand where it is and what its characteristics are. It extends from the southern part of the Piombino promontory, Punta della Rocchetta, to the foothills of the Punta Ala Promontory, near Isolotto dello Sparviero and Scogli Porchetti. The bay covers an area that includes the provinces of {link_cross::DISCOVER§CTY§148§Livorno§_blank}} and Grosseto and the municipalities of Piombino, Follonica, Scarlino and Castiglione della Pescaia. The various resorts and beaches dotted along the coast can be reached quite easily by the Aurelia you will meet from the North West after traveling along the A12, from the North East after the A1 and the FI-PI-LI and after the A1 coming from South.

FOLLONICA TUSCANY: A BIT OF HISTORY. Before exploring the most beautiful beaches of the area and how to reach them, I would like to spend a few words on Follonica and its history. Bear with me and I will give you all the information you need to get to the best Gulf of Follonica beaches. The town of Follonica is mentioned for the first time in 1038, in an act of donation of the Abbey of Sestinga. The Valli Castle probably dates back to this period, of which only the remains are still standing. The most interesting and significant part of Follonica is closely linked to iron manufacturing, practiced already in the Bronze Age. Why here? Especially because of its proximity to the Metalliferous Hills: as the name already suggests, these were rich in iron deposits. Furthermore, Elba Island, located right in front of Follonica, used to be an important mining centre: between the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century, Jacopo Appiani III expanded the old existing tower and after building a jetty access moved on to the construction of the first foundries in Follonica. In 1834 Leopold II of Tuscany built the 'Royal and Imperial Foundries' and from this moment onwards the town started to develop around this activity. The Follonica Foundry became one of the most important in Europe and continued to operate until 1960, when production was moved to the nearby Piombino.

FOLLONICA: A WALK THROUGH HISTORY. During your stay in Follonica or surroundings, take some time to discover the buildings that testify its past. Where to start? Let's start from the beginning of everything, that is, from the ruins of Castello di Valli, the original inhabited area of Follonica, located north of the city on a hill overlooking the gulf. You can reach it along a narrow road and is a very pleasant walk. Once you arrive at your destination, you will find the remains of the walls and an imposing watchtower. But what will impress you even more is the view: extending from Piombino to Punta Ala, watch out for the Island of Elba, Montecristo, Capraia and if you are lucky even the mountains in Corsica. Another building definitely worth seeing is San Leopoldo Church, designed by Alessandro Manetti and built between 1836 and 1842 under Leopold II of Lorraine. Its distinctive feature is the use of cast iron: the use of this material in the pediment, furnishings and decorations make this church a unique example of neoclassical architecture. Near Chiesa di San Leopoldo, continuing along Via Battisti, flanking Piazza Vittorio Veneto and following Via Biocchi, you will arrive at the Grand Ducal Palace which dates back to 1845 and is now home to the State Forestry. It can only be visited on request, but it is worth trying: inside, as well as frescoed ceilings and wrought-iron decorations, you will find a beautiful garden with monumental trees. It also contains the famous white marble bath that Napoleon commissioned Canova’s workshop to build for Elisa Bonaparte. A visit to Follonica, however, cannot end without a trip to the Ex Ilva Area, the factory-town where all the disused steelworks are located. Thanks to growing interest in industrial archaeology in recent years, the area has undergone restoration and conservation work. It currently houses MAGMA (Museo delle Arti in Ghisa), the library and one of the entrances to the ‘Technology Archaeology Park of the Metalliferous Hills'. It can be defined as a 'geopark', recognized by UNESCO, where you can look back at the history of mining activities: it covers an area that touches seven municipalities. There will be plenty of information on itineraries and visits at each entrance.

FOLLONICA ITALY BEACHES: We Tuscans love to keep tourists on the tip of their toes as we unveil the wonders of our land. But for this time we will behave and go straight to the point. Though it would definitely be an exciting adventure to discover all the beaches in Follonica. They are all so beautiful that it is hard to decide where to start from. Let’s begin with the Western coast, the one after Piombino and precisely from Spiaggia La Carbonifera, a sandy beach with shallow waters, suitable for children. There are both public beaches and seaside resorts, each within comfortable distance from a carpark. Where does its name come from? It comes from a tower that you can still see and marked the end of the railway that transported coal from the mines. Further on Torre Mozza beach, as the name implies, has its fair 'guardian' built right next to the water edge: in this case the parking is behind the coast. Thanks to the dunes and reed beds that surround it, this beach has a fascinating wild appearance, and with Carbonifera beach is part of the Sterpaia Coastal Park. Since Follonica and the sea form an indissoluble union, let’s see which beaches are Follonica beaches are closest to the city centre: these include Lido Follonica bay, Boschetto and Paltonieri: you can reach the first one on foot from the centre, the others by bike. In all three cases you will find both seaside resorts and public beaches. So if you would like to take it easy during your Follonica holiday, you could also do without a car! There is nothing better warding off the stress of the city, right? If you have children, take them to La Polveriera Beach, where the water is shallow and at low tide fantastic sandbars rise where fun is guaranteed! In the pine forest there is also 'Casa di Nonno Franco', a truly magical place: objects brought ashore from the waves, thanks to the work and imagination of this fun grandfather, have turned into games, animals, great characters.
From here onwards the coast becomes more rocky. There are two rocky coves here: Cala di Terra Rossa and Cala Martina. They are both located along the path that leads to Cala Violina and starts from a renowned restaurant: ‘Il Cantuccio’. Cala di Terra Rossa bay is a small rocky cove, very wild in its appearance and immersed in the Mediterranean vegetation that seems to reach the water. Cala Martina is similar, just slightly wider. Whichever you choose to go to, make sure you bring plenty of refreshments since there are no bars or restaurants. Now for the real star of the area, Cala Violina beach: hard to reach but its beauty will repay your efforts. How do you get there? Follow the path we mentioned earlier, but it is about 4 km long so it is not really suitable for everyone. Alternatively, if you leave your car in the carpark you reach following the signs of the SP158, you only need to walk for 1.5km through the pine forest. Cala Violina Toscana owes its name to the sound of the sand as you walk over it, which apparently is similar to the sound of the violin. Whether this is true or not is up to you to find out. Violin aside, the attractions of one of the most beautiful Follonica beaches are plentiful: clear blue sea, white sand, Mediterranean shrubs in the background and the pristine nature of the Nature Reserve of Bandite Di Scarlino. Despite the distance from the carpark, it is pretty crowded in August, but at least at this time of the year you stand a better chance to come across a kiosk with drinks! If you love wild beaches, do not miss Cala Civette, which you can reach from Pian D'Alma along the so called 'Strada delle Collacchie' on the way to Punta Ala. It is a bit secluded and you will find it near the mouth of the River Alma. Do you like beaches with few people? Then Casetta Civinini is right up your street! It is a six kilometres long coastline with both lidos and free semi-deserted sections even in peak season.
We have finally arrived near Punta Ala in Tuscany and the two nearby Punta Ala beaches: one is rather small, in front of the small Isolotto dello Sparviero Island where you will find lido facilities but also a natural section; the other longer and wider Punta Ala beach extends between Baia Barbieri and Punta Hidalgo and is for the most part equipped with beach facilities. We are wrapping up our beach journey with Le Rocchette beach located between Punta Ala and Follonica. Le Rocchette provides bathing facilities and also restaurants and bars, in short it is a beautiful and fully equipped beach resort.

PUNTA ALA. Let me tell you something else about Punta Ala: it is located in the bottom section of the bay and is included in the municipality of Castiglione della Pescaia. Punta Ala in Tuscany is famous for its harbour where a high number of yachts are usually moored... and I am talking serious yachts! Just think that the 'Luna Rossa' boat that competed in the America's Cup was actually designed here. Punta Ala is an exclusive destination, as evidenced by its houses, residences and the beautiful Punta Ala Golf Club. It is a small but quaint and beautiful town, with some places of interest such as the Medici Castle with the Chapel of St. Anthony, the Hidalgo Tower, the Appiani Tower and the modern Consolata della Signoria Church built with wood and copper.

Have you taken note of all the beaches? I expect you also want to know even where you can go for something to eat. However, we at The Gulf of Follonica is a picturesque bay in the Tyrrhenian Sea, about 50 km of coastline which includes wild sandy beaches such as Cala Violina, more equipped ones such as Torre Mozza, but also rocky coves such as Cala Martina. You can decide whether to stick to one beach, if you have a favourite one, or explore new ones and change beach every day! You will be spoilt for choice. Beaches are not the only thing tourists are interested in, and in fact there are also several interesting towns in the area such as Follonica and Punta Ala Toscana.

So let's spend a few words on the wonderful Follonica gulf, just to understand where it is and what its characteristics are. It extends from the southern part of the Piombino promontory, Punta della Rocchetta, to the foothills of the Punta Ala Promontory, near Isolotto dello Sparviero and Scogli Porchetti. The bay covers an area that includes the provinces of Livorno and Grosseto and the municipalities of Piombino, Follonica, Scarlino and Castiglione della Pescaia. The various resorts and beaches dotted along the coast can be reached quite easily by the Aurelia you will meet from the North West after traveling along the A12, from the North East after the A1 and the FI-PI-LI and after the A1 coming from South.

FOLLONICA TUSCANY: A BIT OF HISTORY. Before exploring the most beautiful beaches of the area and how to reach them, I would like to spend a few words on Follonica and its history. Bear with me and I will give you all the information you need to get to the best Gulf of Follonica beaches. The town of Follonica is mentioned for the first time in 1038, in an act of donation of the Abbey of Sestinga. The Valli Castle probably dates back to this period, of which only the remains are still standing. The most interesting and significant part of Follonica is closely linked to iron manufacturing, practiced already in the Bronze Age. Why here? Especially because of its proximity to the Metalliferous Hills: as the name already suggests, these were rich in iron deposits. Furthermore, Elba Island, located right in front of Follonica, used to be an important mining centre: between the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century, Jacopo Appiani III expanded the old existing tower and after building a jetty access moved on to the construction of the first foundries in Follonica. In 1834 Leopold II of Tuscany built the 'Royal and Imperial Foundries' and from this moment onwards the town started to develop around this activity. The Follonica Foundry became one of the most important in Europe and continued to operate until 1960, when production was moved to the nearby Piombino.

FOLLONICA: A WALK THROUGH HISTORY. During your stay in Follonica or surroundings, take some time to discover the buildings that testify its past. Where to start? Let's start from the beginning of everything, that is, from the ruins of Castello di Valli, the original inhabited area of Follonica, located north of the city on a hill overlooking the gulf. You can reach it along a narrow road and is a very pleasant walk. Once you arrive at your destination, you will find the remains of the walls and an imposing watchtower. But what will impress you even more is the view: extending from Piombino to Punta Ala, watch out for the Island of Elba, Montecristo, Capraia and if you are lucky even the mountains in Corsica. Another building definitely worth seeing is San Leopoldo Church, designed by Alessandro Manetti and built between 1836 and 1842 under Leopold II of Lorraine. Its distinctive feature is the use of cast iron: the use of this material in the pediment, furnishings and decorations make this church a unique example of neoclassical architecture. Near Chiesa di San Leopoldo, continuing along Via Battisti, flanking Piazza Vittorio Veneto and following Via Biocchi, you will arrive at the Grand Ducal Palace which dates back to 1845 and is now home to the State Forestry. It can only be visited on request, but it is worth trying: inside, as well as frescoed ceilings and wrought-iron decorations, you will find a beautiful garden with monumental trees. It also contains the famous white marble bath that Napoleon commissioned Canova’s workshop to build for Elisa Bonaparte. A visit to Follonica, however, cannot end without a trip to the Ex Ilva Area, the factory-town where all the disused steelworks are located. Thanks to growing interest in industrial archaeology in recent years, the area has undergone restoration and conservation work. It currently houses MAGMA (Museo delle Arti in Ghisa), the library and one of the entrances to the ‘Technology Archaeology Park of the Metalliferous Hills'. It can be defined as a 'geopark', recognized by UNESCO, where you can look back at the history of mining activities: it covers an area that touches seven municipalities. There will be plenty of information on itineraries and visits at each entrance.

FOLLONICA ITALY BEACHES: We Tuscans love to keep tourists on the tip of their toes as we unveil the wonders of our land. But for this time we will behave and go straight to the point. Though it would definitely be an exciting adventure to discover all the beaches in Follonica. They are all so beautiful that it is hard to decide where to start from. Let’s begin with the Western coast, the one after Piombino and precisely from Spiaggia La Carbonifera, a sandy beach with shallow waters, suitable for children. There are both public beaches and seaside resorts, each within comfortable distance from a carpark. Where does its name come from? It comes from a tower that you can still see and marked the end of the railway that transported coal from the mines. Further on Torre Mozza beach, as the name implies, has its fair 'guardian' built right next to the water edge: in this case the parking is behind the coast. Thanks to the dunes and reed beds that surround it, this beach has a fascinating wild appearance, and with Carbonifera beach is part of the Sterpaia Coastal Park. Since Follonica and the sea form an indissoluble union, let’s see which beaches are Follonica beaches are closest to the city centre: these include Lido Follonica bay, Boschetto and Paltonieri: you can reach the first one on foot from the centre, the others by bike. In all three cases you will find both seaside resorts and public beaches. So if you would like to take it easy during your Follonica holiday, you could also do without a car! There is nothing better warding off the stress of the city, right? If you have children, take them to La Polveriera Beach, where the water is shallow and at low tide fantastic sandbars rise where fun is guaranteed! In the pine forest there is also 'Casa di Nonno Franco', a truly magical place: objects brought ashore from the waves, thanks to the work and imagination of this fun grandfather, have turned into games, animals, great characters.

From here onwards the coast becomes more rocky. There are two rocky coves here: Cala di Terra Rossa and Cala Martina. They are both located along the path that leads to Cala Violina and starts from a renowned restaurant: ‘Il Cantuccio’. Cala di Terra Rossa bay is a small rocky cove, very wild in its appearance and immersed in the Mediterranean vegetation that seems to reach the water. Cala Martina is similar, just slightly wider. Whichever you choose to go to, make sure you bring plenty of refreshments since there are no bars or restaurants. Now for the real star of the area, Cala Violina beach: hard to reach but its beauty will repay your efforts. How do you get there? Follow the path we mentioned earlier, but it is about 4 km long so it is not really suitable for everyone. Alternatively, if you leave your car in the carpark you reach following the signs of the SP158, you only need to walk for 1.5km through the pine forest. Cala Violina Toscana owes its name to the sound of the sand as you walk over it, which apparently is similar to the sound of the violin. Whether this is true or not is up to you to find out. Violin aside, the attractions of one of the most beautiful Follonica beaches are plentiful: clear blue sea, white sand, Mediterranean shrubs in the background and the pristine nature of the Nature Reserve of Bandite Di Scarlino. Despite the distance from the carpark, it is pretty crowded in August, but at least at this time of the year you stand a better chance to come across a kiosk with drinks! If you love wild beaches, do not miss Cala Civette, which you can reach from Pian D'Alma along the so called 'Strada delle Collacchie' on the way to Punta Ala. It is a bit secluded and you will find it near the mouth of the River Alma. Do you like beaches with few people? Then Casetta Civinini is right up your street! It is a six kilometres long coastline with both lidos and free semi-deserted sections even in peak season.

We have finally arrived near Punta Ala in Tuscany and the two nearby Punta Ala beaches: one is rather small, in front of the small Isolotto dello Sparviero Island where you will find lido facilities but also a natural section; the other longer and wider Punta Ala beach extends between Baia Barbieri and Punta Hidalgo and is for the most part equipped with beach facilities. We are wrapping up our beach journey with Le Rocchette beach located between Punta Ala and Follonica. Le Rocchette provides bathing facilities and also restaurants and bars, in short it is a beautiful and fully equipped beach resort.

PUNTA ALA. Let me tell you something else about Punta Ala: it is located in the bottom section of the bay and is included in the municipality of Castiglione della Pescaia. Punta Ala in Tuscany is famous for its harbour where a high number of yachts are usually moored... and I am talking serious yachts! Just think that the 'Luna Rossa' boat that competed in the America's Cup was actually designed here. Punta Ala is an exclusive destination, as evidenced by its houses, residences and the beautiful Punta Ala Golf Club. It is a small but quaint and beautiful town, with some places of interest such as the Medici Castle with the Chapel of St. Anthony, the Hidalgo Tower, the Appiani Tower and the modern Consolata della Signoria Church built with wood and copper.

Have you taken note of all the beaches? I expect you also want to know even where you can go for something to eat. However, we at
toscanainside.com do not want to deprive you of the pleasures of discovery. At best, we will tell you what to eat: tasteful caciucco - a succulent fish soup with toasted bread - Maremma tortelli stuffed with potatoes, some good grilled Chianina meat or lamb à la Maremma... I can already smell it in the air... use your olfactory sense and you will surely find a nice restaurant! Bon appétit!