Nature, art, and the exclusive resorts which were opened recently, here it is super-tips for an ideal weekend
Dante established its north and south limits in Cecina and Tarquinia (in the province of Viterbo, which was known as Corneto at that time), thus giving an identity to the beautiful territory between Tuscany and Latium which leans to the Tyrrhenian Sea. The uncontaminated nature, the thick green forests make way to a crystal clean sea and to long beaches; thus the beauty of nature and its variety are the strengths of this Tuscan microcosm.
You can start from Puntone, Scarlino's seafront south of the Gulf of Follonica: here the regulars stop for an aperitif at one of the bars along the creeks of Marina di Scarlino, a recent and well-equipped marina, or at Cala Felice Beach Club (reservations are required for a cocktail at sunset). If you prefer a more intimate atmosphere, choose Il Relais Vedetta: a large, newly restored country house, situated in a splendid panoramic position from which you can admire the entire Gulf of Follonica and which has only six sought-after suites inside. As for the beaches, going towards Castiglione della Pescaia, do not miss the natural beauty of Cala Violina: a thin strip of very fine sand, which plays under your feet, enclosed between two promontories in the heart of the Nature Reserve of Scarlino: a value, it is reachable only on foot or from the sea.
From here continue to Punta Ala, the elite pearl of the area. The modern touristic centre was built in the beginning of the Seventies: the colors and the architecture of its buildings remember the particular taste of that period. Piazza della Luna Rossa is the most characteristic: if you climb down the stairs, you get to the promenade in the port which is always very lively: a coffee or a glass of wine at Porticciolo, some shopping in the multi-brand boutiques of Gianni Cuccuini, the reference for man and woman’s fashion since 1967. For the dinner you can go to Molo G or in one of the exclusive restaurants of Cala del Porto Hotel, where you can enjoy the wonderful seascape of the Golfo di Follonica bay. And the Bagno La Vela, opened from the morning through the night, a very busy meeting point, where the habitués spend most of their evenings. For the golf lovers there is one of the biggest course in Tuscany, the Punta Ala Golf Club: a more than six kilometer long course plunged into the green of maritime pines, cork oaks, centennial holm oaks, and bushes which are natural obstacles for the game. For the night you can choose to stay in Cala del Porto or in the Relais & Chateaux Gallia Palace. As far as beaches are concerned, you cannot skip Cala Violina: a thin strip of fine sand enclosed between two promontories in the heart of the Bandite di Scarlino Natural Reserve, which can be reached only on foot or by boa. If you drive inland, stop for the dinner in one of the good trattorias which propose typical dishes such as the hand-made tortelli) and the boar meat. Where exactly? In Tirli at La Luna, Ampio or Il Bivio.
If you drive along the coast you reach Roccamare, a big private pinewood which leans to the sea, where two hundred exclusive villas are located. In the Rocchette the most appreciated beach clubs are Bagno Alessandro and La Capannina. You must stop at the Tennis Club (the usual goers know that it is run by old Swell, one of the most loved bars of the area): boho-chic furniture, nice cocktail drinks to enjoy and the nice restaurant. For the night, you can stay at Hotel Residence Roccamare. Our itinerary continues to Capezzolo (you must go to La Valletta, Le Cannucce, or Valbona where you can also have dinner) and you arrive Castiglione della Pescaia.
CASTIGLIONE DELLA PESCAIA
You must take a walk on the promenade along the sea, have a drink at Castiglione (Da Luciano) or enjoy some shopping in the historical boutiques of the town such as I Rigattieri and Mania. For the dinner, you can go to Romolo or Vuotapentole, if you want to stay in the center, or you can go to Da Anna and La Terra di Nello, only a few kilometers inland. For the overnight stay you can choose the Miramare, a family run hotel from which you can enjoy a beautiful seascape. From the sea promenade you can climb uphill to the castle which encloses the heart of the ancient medieval village and from which you can look at all the islands of the Tuscan archipelago. Every summer, in Castiglione, the Georg Solti Academy, founded by the famous Hungarian orchestra director and now run by his wife Valerie, organizes the Georg Solti Academy of Bel Canto: twelve musicians from all over the world are guests of the Academy for a three week intensive training in Italian opera. You must take a few hours to enjoy the magic atmosphere of the Andana, Tenuta La Badiola: a long avenue of cypresses and maritime pines, inside a preserved natural park, takes you to an enchanting resort, equipped with spa, starred restaurant, the now famous Trattoria di Enrico Bartolini, golf driving range and romantic little private church, born some years ago on the initiative of the Moretti family (wine producer, Bellavista and Contadi Castaldi Franciacorta, Petra and Tenuta La Badiola).
Leaving Castiglione behind you, if you take the street which brings to Marina di Grosseto, you find La Fiumara, a beach club which is open from the morning to late at night. We suggest that you stay for dinner: the tables are set on the beach a few meters from the sea. It’s a unique experience by candle light at night. Next stop is the Regional Park of Maremma, best known as Uccellina Park: the beach in Alberese is a true paradise, suspended between the green of the wood and the crystal clean sea where it is not difficult to meet little boars and roes. And last but not least Cala di Forno, one of the most beautiful beaches in Tuscany and until 2012 it was closed to visitors (for more information and itineraries: www.parco-maremma.it). For the overnight stay, Tenuta la Giuncola or Tenuta dell’Uccellina.