Piombino, Italy

Piombino is on an outcropping with an outlook on Corsica and Sardinia, the islands that make up the Tuscan archipelago. On the upper part of the rocky promontory, maquis, a thick vegetation of the Mediterranean coast grows north along the sandy beaches of the Barattii Gulf whereas towards the south, the land ends in the Fellonica Gulf along beaches with thin, white sand. Monte Massoncello ascends north of the town.

Piombino is an ideal destination for beach lovers, for those wanting to leave the port to visit the Tuscan archipelago boat tours, or for avid trekkers who want to walk along the paths. Visitors to Piombino can enjoy the shopping in the town’s center with “150 windows“ or dine in the many seafood restaurants.

Coastline of Piombino, Tuscany, ItalyThe town was known as Portus under Roman rule. Piombino rose to prominence when the Lombard invasion wiped out the adjoining town of Populonia. In the Middle Ages Piombino came under control of the Pisans and then the control varied, depending on which state ruled Italy until 1814 when the Congress of Vienna gave control to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

Piombino’s name originated from the Italian piombo or lead, revealing how the town’s metalworking industry was so important to the economy. During the Etruscan times, iron ore was mined on Elba and shipped to Populonia where it was smelted. In the 19th century, new iron working techniques made it possible to work with iron from Colline Metallifere and from the slag heaps left from the Etruscan times.

Visitors to Piombino will find three kinds of attractions- the historical sites in town, the archaeological park, and the beach at Altamarea.

The main sights of Piombino include the Co-Cathedral of San Antino constructed by the Augustinians in the 14th century which contains several pieces by Andrea Guardi, the Cassero Pisano or castle built during the Medici rule, the Renaissance Chapel of St Anne, the Palazzo Communale or Town Hall originally built in the 1400s, and Casa delle Bifore – the House of the Mullioned Windows of 1280.

The Piombino area has two main parks. The Natural Province Reserve Padule Orti Bottagone is near Torre Del Sale. This preserve highlights ponds and wet prairies that used to be common in the Cornia River Plain. It plays a prominent part in bird migration and as a nesting site. The other park, the Archaeological Park of Baratti and Populonia, in Piombino Township, is located between the hills of Piombino and the coast on the Gulf of Baratti. It is in the park system of Parks of Val de Cornia, opening in 1998 to examine the archaeological sites. The park is comprised of Populonia, the Etruscan city, the cemetery of San Cerbone, Casone and the grotto, and the cave of calcarenite. The park has several paths enabling visitors to visit the sites.

The other major tourist attraction is the Alta Marea Bath in the center of the Tuscan coast in Baratti, which is within Piombino. Visitors can easily reach the beach on a wide street. The beach sand varies as to uniformity and colors and sometimes is dark because of the iron remaining from the Roman mines.

The Altamarea bathing business provides a cordial ambience for its visitors with many services: sun beds and deckchairs, beach umbrellas, showers, and canoes and pedal boats.


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