The Tuscany Coast is a part of the Italian region’s stunning attractions, but it often goes overlooked. The Tuscan region is famous for its historical cities, rural towns, beautiful scenic landscapes, vineyards, and red wine production. However, the coast brings so much more to offer!
From turquoise Mediterranean waters to bright sandy beaches, the coast is reminiscent of the famous Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Fishing towns, ports, and marinas also dot the area. Small islands border the coastal landscape, serving as more secluded getaways from mainland Italy. Coastal destinations ooze fascinating history and traditional Italian charm. There are also plenty of natural parks and reserves brimming with wildlife.
If you’re seeking a combo of beaches, nature, and authentic towns, look no further! Keep on reading to learn more about the coast of Tuscany and its wonders.
Seaside Locations in Northern Tuscany
The Riviera Apuana is a stunning coastline that just borders the famous Ligurian coast. The Riviera Apuana, however, is no less wonderful than its well-known neighbor. This area of the Tuscany Coast includes both shoreline and towering mountains and covers three municipalities.
Massa, Carrara, and Montignoso all offer their own charms, but Carrara is particularly famous. It’s praised for its craftsmanship of beautiful white marble, often used in furniture and decor.
Versilia sits on the northwestern edge of the province of Lucca, encompassing several cities. It meets the Riviera Apuana and has cities that slope up to the Apuan mountains.
Trendy resorts and beaches line Versilia’s border with the sea. The beaches are also quite accessible, given that the train and a highway run parallel to the coast.
Unsurprisingly, this small section of coastline is located near the city of Pisa and its leaning tower. The Pisian Coast includes lengthy stretches of sand, as well as plenty of protected natural areas.
One of the most special of these natural spaces is L’Oasi Dune di Terrenia. This 60-acre oasis features dunes as tall as 33 feet and borders the Mediterranean waters. Another natural park of interest includes Parco Regionale Migliarino, San Rossore, and Massaciuccoli. Between the lush flora and diverse fauna, this regional park is fantastic for nature lovers.
Seaside Locations in Central and Southern Tuscany
Livorno and the Etruscan Coast
Livorno and the Etruscan Coast consist of a unique blend of nature, history, and coastal allure. The charming village of Castiglioncello invites visitors to the Tuscany Coast with a sandy beach and beach clubs.
The Maremma is a vast area that covers part of southern and western Tuscany, plus a bit of the Latium region. Visitors can explore the Maremma National Park, which is teeming with diverse plant and animal life, and eat traditional Maremma dishes like tortelli maremmani.
Further south on Tuscany’s coastline, the enchanting Silver Coast features the Monte Argentario peninsula, which is often overlooked by tourists. The peninsula’s main two port towns are the wonderful Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole. Here, you can enjoy delicious seafood dishes while admiring the boat-filled marinas.
Orbetello sits nearby, nestled between two lagoons and sandwiched between the Monte Argentario peninsula and the mainland. You can check out the historic center, the pink flamingos that gather in the lagoon, and the town’s Etrsucan heritage.
Another unmissable part of the Silver Coast is the hidden gem of Talamone. It’s not located on the peninsula, but it’s definitely worth a visit. Besides exploring the town, you can check out the Rocca, stop in the Orbetello Lagoon Aquarium, and access the Parco Naturale della Maremma.
Islands of the Tuscan Archipelago
The Tuscan Archipelago, one of the best gems of the Tuscan Coast, is a chain of seven islands located west of Tuscany in the Mediterranean.
According to ancient legend, Venus, the goddess of beauty and love, was attempting to fix her pearl necklace when the string broke and seven of the pearls fell into the water. Those seven pearls transformed and became the seven islands we know today.
Elba Island, one of the islands in the archipelago, is actually one of the biggest islands in Italy. In fact, it’s the largest one after the famous Sicily and Sardinia. Most visitors go to Elba for its tropical-like sandy beaches and pristine beaches, but that’s not all it has to offer! Seaside towns provide glimpses into history, like the residence where Napoleon Bonaparte lived during his exile.
Giglio and Montecristo are other notable islands out of the group. Giglio is located west of the Monte Argentario peninsula, and Montecristo is settled even further west, halfway between Corsica and Italy. Giglio offers access to secluded beaches, lovely views, and medieval towns.
Montecristo, on the other hand, is an uninhabited island with restricted access. However, if you manage to get to the island, you’ll enjoy rugged terrain and untouched nature.
Best Coastal Towns in Tuscany
As mentioned previously, Porto Ercole is located on the Monte Argentario peninsula. It has a quaint harbor that’s adorned with both rustic fishing boats and modern boats.
You can wander among the cobblestone streets to help you take in the medieval remnants of the town. Don’t leave without visiting the 16th-century Spanish fortresses: Rocca Spagnola, Forte Filippo, and Forte Stella.
Beaches such as Feniglia and Cala Galera show off their white sands and beckon visitors with perfect marine water.
Forte dei Marmi
Forte dei Marmi is a seaside town near Massa. Here, you can stop along the Pontile pier, which reveals wonderful views of the Apuan mountains. Go to the beach, visit shopping centers, and cycle along the boardwalk.
Keep in mind that it’s a luxury destination, so it won’t be as inexpensive as other destinations along the Tuscan Coast.
As a bonus, Forte dei Marmi is easily accessible from Massa, Pisa, Lucca,, and La Spezia.
Castiglione della Pescaia
Beyond the harbor and seafront, the town has a rich and interesting history to explore. The centuries-old city walls surround the historic center, which houses the Church of the Madonna del Giglio and the Church of San Giovanni Battista.
From Castiglione della Pescaia, you can visit the Etruscan town of Vetulonia to educate yourself more about the area’s past.
Castiglioncello is a small town on the Tuscany Coast, with a population just under 4,000. It attracts a good number of tourists, but that’s not to say that it lacks authenticity.
On the contrary, Castiglioncello is a gateway into coastal Italian life and history. Pasquini Castle, with its Gothic Revival architecture and decorated chapel, a must-visit.
Because of its spectacular beaches and sea views, Castiglioncello has historically been a popular location for filming and for cinema stars to visit.
As the capital and main port of Elba Island, Portoferraio has high expectations. However, given its history, architectural beauty, culinary landscape, and port views, it certainly exceeds those expectations.
Wondrous villas, like Villa della Linguella and Villa delle Grotte, are remnants of ancient Roman life from thousands of years ago. The Medici fortresses are significantly more recent, but still offer a glimpse into the past.
Besides these unique historical attractions, Portoferraio features colorful buildings with tile roofs, extraordinary views of the port, and several tasty restaurants.
Best Beaches on the Tuscan Coast
If you’re headed to the Tuscan Coast, chances are you hope to visit some of the best beaches in the area. There is no shortage of beaches, but there are certainly ones that best suit your own preferences and plans.
Samson Beach is one of Elba Island’s most perfect beach destinations. It sits just at the base of steep stony cliffs, which create a dramatic and picturesque backdrop. You’ll have to journey along a path (which requires comfy walking shoes), but once you reach this paradise, it will be well worth it.
Baratti Beach is another breathtaking spot. It’s ideal for swimmers and divers, and is also perfect for kids. Towering trees stand just off the shoreline, making for a jaw-dropping view like Samson Beach.
Lastly, Feniglia Beach is a unique destination that stretches all the way from the Monte Argentario peninsula to the mainland. It’s 4.3 miles long, making it easy to find a quiet spot for yourself. Plus, you can rent umbrellas and lounge chairs for your beach day.
While these three beaches are unforgettable, there are so many more that will make your trip special. Check out this list for a more comprehensive guide to the most amazing beaches along the coast.