Head to Bolgheri for a walk between taste and history
Based on article by Cristina Romeo from www.discovertuscany.com (link)
The Etruscan Coast offers beautiful beaches and crystalline waters, but also a wonderful hinterland you really can’t miss. Between the coastal cities of Cecina and San Vincenzo, less than 10 km from the seaside, you’ll find the precious tiny village of Bolgheri.
I definetly suggest a drive along the famous Viale dei Cipressi (Cypress Avenue) that leads to Bolgheri. This is a scenic, straight avenue, about 5 km long, bordered by majestic and ancient cypresses which end in front of the castle of Bolgheri. It connects the old Via Aurelia to the village.
This very impressive path is celebrated by one of the major Italian poets of the nineteenth century, Giosuè Carducci, in his famous poems “Davanti San Guido” (In front of San Guido). The poet was very devoted to Bolgheri and its surrounding as he spent part of his youth here.
Proceeding along the avenue and behind the cypresses, you’ll start to see the red bricks of Bolgheri’s castle. The hamlet is located over this elegant castle, so beautiful and finished that it seems to come straight out of a storybook for children.
Right before arriving at our destination, you’ll find a small parking lot where you can leave your car (fee is about € 1,50-2 per hour, not really cheap). In just a short walk (long enough to take some nice photos), you arrive in front of the tower which is the village’s main gateway.
Just above the entrance you’ll certainly notice the big family coat of arms of the ancient noble Gherardesca family, which has owned the castle of Bolgheri since 1200!
Bolgheri, with its old historical center, the typical houses of stone and bricks, rich food and wine shops, small restaurants and taverns, is really an enchanting village.
The village itself is as precious as it is small. It is perfect for a short visit, but I strongly recommend you take your time to fully enjoy its atmosphere.
I find Bolgheri is an ideal spot for a pleasant walk browsing through its shops plenty of food and local specialties, its nice alleys, enjoying a good snack or a drink in one of the wine shops.
The hamlet is also an amazing setting for a romantic dinner at sunset: at dusk the castle lit is, if possible, even more charming and offers a great setting for an unforgettable night.
If you’re traveling with kids, you can consider dining out in one of the restaurants equipped with a garden or outdoor area, where they can also play for a while.
Land of excellent wines
The vineyards of the Etruscan Coast produce prestigious wines. In the Bolgheri area and its surroundings, some of the best Tuscan wines renowned around the world are produced.
The Super Tuscan Sassicaia, produced by Tenuta San Guido, is probably the most famous (and expensive) as it's considered one of the finest Italian red wines.
Then there are the excellent Bolgheri Superiore, Bolgheri Rosso, and Ornellaia among red wines, and the Vermentino Bolgheri and Bolgheri Bianco among the white wines. Over thirty local wine estates are members of the consortium Bolgheri DOC, which guarantees the highest quality products.
Every year between July and August the Bolgheri Melody Festival takes place, a festival full of great musical events, theater and dance. Most events take place in a large arena located at the beginning of the long avenue of cypresses leading to Bolgheri.
This is the official website of the Festival where you'll find more complete information on this year's edition: www.bolgherimelodyfestival.it.
How to get to Bolgheri
Bolgheri is part of the municipality of Castagneto Carducci.
Coming from the north by car, take the SS1 - E80 (Aurelia) until the exit called “La California”. Then continue on Via Aurelia towards Grosseto, to the south.
Coming from the south, you may instead take the SS1 - E80 (Aurelia) and exit at “Donoratico”. Then continue on Via Aurelia towards Livorno, to the north.
In both directions you'll see signs that lead you to Bolgheri.