This summer our 4 days vacation was in Tuscany. I chose the little medieval village Castagneto Carducci. Only 10 kilometers from the coast, the village is located in the green hills of the Alta Maremma.
To me it was a surprise that the place is actually a pretty popular town at the Etruscan Coast. You still see very well that the town once has grown around a castle. There is nearly from every angle in the town an amazing view to the nearby coast, over the flat land and up to the green hills with dense forests.
A little bit about the history: The name refers to the chestnut tree forests (castagneto) and had once the additive of Marittima because the location which is in the Alta Maremma. But in 1907 they changed the name in Castagneto Carducci (to honor the Italian poet). Giosuè Carducci was one of the greatest poets, writers and literary critics of Italy in the 19th century, and he lived most of his childhood in Castagneto, though he was born near to Lucca.
During the medieval period the family of the Della Gherardesca was the ruler of this part, together with Bolgheri, Bibbona, Montescudaio and other places. Saint Wilfrido, a Gherardesca family member, in 754 became a monk, and founded the nearby monastery of San Pietro in Palazzuolo.
The family of Gherardesca until the unification was the ruler of the area and still has properties here.
Today the little village in the green hills of the province of Livorno is a holiday destination. It has a very small center with narrow streets, most of them car-free and only accessible by walking up and down. Little shops with typical food, souvenirs, wine and olive oil and much more are lined together with nice little restaurants. Especially in summer it is a real vacation-feeling when sitting at a small table in the street, having good Italian food and a great glass of wine while watching tourists of all nationalities walking by.
For us Castagneto Carducci was the perfect place as a base to explore the region and coming back in the evening, then just walk to the piazza and have a candle-light dinner with view.
In the village I would recommend the Carducci museum. Unfortunately it is only in Italian, but still it is very interesting to see old photos and more. The house and rooms are actually the place where he stayed with his father, who was a doctor in Castagneto Marittima (at that time). The castle and the church are interesting, too, though I didn’t see too much of the castle.
There are several restaurants, we tried a few, and they are all very nice and quiet. We liked in particular one at the corner of the main piazza for some unknown reason. The wine bars are perfect to have the ‘aperitivo’ before you go for dinner!
We arrived by car coming from Rome. It was a little more than two hours driving along the coast with wonderful views. We took the exit of San Vincenzo Nord, following the signs to Donoratico and on the Aurelia following the signs to Castagneto Carducci, which is a right turn in the center of Donoratico. But we saw also a train station in Donoratico from where you can take a bus to Castagneto Carducci. The bus station in Castagneto is right out of the center at the pharmacy from where you just walk into the center.
Castagneto Carducci, Tuscany/Italy:
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