Travel /
Toscana

Tuscan Coast Between History, Sea and Wine

History, sea and wine, these are the three main ingredients that characterize the 500km of Tuscan coastline, from Mount Argentario in the south to the Apuan Alps in the north.

These lands with their heterogeneity have played key strategic roles in the history and development of the Tuscan people and of its capital, Florence, by making the most of the local indigenous characteristics. 

The marble of the Apuan Alps has produced some of the best artisans specialized in quarrying of the stone. 

The countryside cultivated with vineyards has become famous thanks to an intuition in the 40’s that served as a turning point for wine in the prestigious Bolgheri area. 

The sandy coast of the Maremma, the rocky Livornese coast, and the Versilian coast framed by the mountains were continuously cherished by families. 

The endless pine forests and parks of the Pisan coast rich in biodiversity continue to be discovered on horseback rides. 

The pearls that dot the archipelago, its crystalline islands as local getaways.

Throughout the year there is no shortage of palios or festivals testifying to the fact that the local population does not undergo seasonal “emptying”, on the contrary, it is very well rooted and proud of its lands.

If you find yourself on the Tuscan coast and are a lover of design and architecture, here is a list of (unconventional) places that are worth visiting once in a lifetime.

 

Villa Balmain (1958-1960) | Elba island

Summer residence of the famous Parisian tailor Pierre Balmain overlooking the sea and the small port of Marciana Marina. Balmain hired Florentine architect Leonardo Ricci to design this modern-futuristic Villa set among terraced land on the island of Elba.

Arsenali Repubblicani (1200) | Pisa

Built outside the western side of the city walls, here boats were built and repaired. Hard hit by the bombings of 1943, an important restoration in 2010 converted them into a space used for temporary exhibitions and events.

Liberty Movement (1905-1930) | Viareggio

While not a place, it is an important cultural movement inspired by Art Nouveau and developed in Italy around 1905. With the arrival of the bourgeoisie from the main Tuscan cities on the Versilian coast, the first bathing establishments in the typical Art Nouveau style came to life followed by the Grand Caffè Margherita, the Balena beach club, the Caffè Concerto Eden and various other buildings decorated with enamels, lacquers and ceramics, typical of the 1920s and 1930s.

Pietrasanta

This small town is home to the highest concentration of exhibition spaces in Italy: 40 galleries and ateliers and 50 artistic workshops for marble and bronze processing. There is a strong presence of well-known contemporary artists such as Fernando Botero, Jeff Koons, Kan Yasuda, Igor Mitoraj and many others who have created and continue to create their works here. The construction of a museum dedicated to Mitoraj, who passed away in 2014, is currently underway.

Cantina del Bruciato (2016-2018) | Bolgheri

Bolgheri, on the Alta Maremma coast, is an area of ​​sea, pine forests and wine. This winery contains the production of one of the most appreciated wines of its area, the “Bruciato”. The volume of the cellar, taking up the industrial themes of seriality, is made of dark-colored titanium zinc and is designed as a modular object with a deconstructed facade that develops in a shed along the longitudinal axis.

Rocca di Frassinello Cellar (2005-2007) | Giuncarico

A hypogeum, an underground tomb, ensure the right climatic conditions in terms of light, temperature and humidity. It develops in a rectangular space carved into the top of the hill. Here the cellar that houses its barrels is exactly in the center of the structure and represents its beating heart. The architect Renzo Piano elegantly aligns the barrels on concentric terraces, creating a poetic and evocative environment.

Cantine Petra (2001-2003) | Suvereto

The project by the Swiss architect Mario Botta takes inspiration from the architecture of the surrounding countryside where the vegetation integrates harmoniously with the work of man.

At the same time mitigated and disruptive, this structure has a longitudinal brick front leaning against the hill and crossed transversely by a 25m high tower which houses the entrance of the grapes and winemaking activities.

Forte Stella (16th century)

Scenic coastal fortification near Porto Ercole located on the top of Monte Argentario, a promontory southwest of the Tuscan coast. Entirely made of stone, it has a five-pointed star plant characteristic of the fortifications of the time. Today cultural exhibitions and reviews are held during the summer.

Villa Balmain

Arsenali Repubblicani

Pietrasanta

Cantina del Bruciato

Rocca di Frassinello Cellar

Cantine Petra

Forte Stella