Castiglioncello is a small town on the west coast of Italy in Tuscany, south of Livorno. As I used to spend my summer vacations here as a child, I have a deep affection for this place.
Castiglioncello is famous for its secluded beaches, small coves with crystal-clear water and cliffs, covered by the typical Mediterranean vegetation. It became particularly renowned during the 1960s when it was a popular destination among Italian movie stars. Moreover, the coast of Castiglioncello was a recurrent subject in the works of the Italian painter Giovanni Fattori in the 19th century, who was part of the School of Castiglioncello (La Scuola di Castiglioncello). Today, it remains a popular tourist destination in the summer.
What I really like most of Castiglioncello is its beautiful coastal walk (named lungomare in Italian): it is a 3-km trail that stretches along small beaches and coves with amazing views over the sea. It is a very relaxing stroll. Along the way you will find seafood restaurants and cozy bars.
I find particularly charming to take this walk during the low season, that is in autumn and in winter, when you can enjoy an unbroken view of the landscape, as the beaches are quite deserted and there are not any umbrellas. It is the perfect destination where to spend a sunny afternoon in the winter. Eventually, you can also take this walk by night.
How to get to Castiglioncello
You can get to Castiglioncello by public transport. In fact, Castiglioncello’s train station is well connected to Livorno: the journey takes about 20 minutes. Check out the timetable on Trenitalia. Moreover, you can get to Castiglioncello from Livorno also by bus. Check out the timetable on Livorno’s public transport web-site.
Of course, the easiest way to get to Castiglioncello is definitely by car. If you are coming from the north, basically there are two beautiful scenic roads to get to Castiglioncello.
The first road is SS 1 (Via Aurelia), which begins in Livorno and then stretches along the wonderful cliffed coast. You can stop at different viewpoints along the way and enjoy amazing views over the sea.
The other way is to take SR 206 (Strada Pisana – Livornese, commonly also known as Via Emilia by the locals) which starts in Pisa. This is a spectacular scenic road that goes through the countryside of Tuscany, bending through beautiful hills. After the village of Orciano, turn right onto either SP 11 (Strada Provinciale di Chiappino) or SP 12 (Strada Provinciale della Giunca), which will lead you up the hill and finally down to the coast. This is a wonderful scenic drive through amazing natural landscapes. I really like driving along this road, as there is not usually any traffic at all and I find it very relaxing.
The coastal walk of Castiglioncello (Lungomare di Castiglioncello)
I usually start this trail from the end of Viale Marradi, which faces a beautiful cove (named Baia di Caletta in Italian). If you cannot find a place to park your car in this street, I suggest driving back uphill and going past the tunnel, where you will find plenty of free parking spots along the streets of the neighborhood.
While in the summer this beach is often very crowded, in the winter it shows itself in all its beauty. There is a lovely bohemien café facing the cove: take something to drink and taste it sitting on the steps leading to the beach. That’s also a beautiful spot to enjoy the sunset, sipping a good cocktail.
Going forward, the coast becomes rocky. In particular, it features a field of strangely-shaped rocks, as they have many small holes over their surface. It is really funny to abandon the main trail and walk on these rocks, trying not to lose your balance!
Then, the trail gets really narrow: if the sea is rough, the waves will often crash on the path. So, watch your step carefully, if you don’t want to get wet! Then, after passing some seafood restaurants along the way, the path bends sharply right uphill into a pine wood.
The pine wood of Castiglioncello is a beautiful well-kept park: among other things, it features an open-air cinema during the summer, a minigolf course and a tennis club. Moreover, there is an awesome viewpoint over the sea.
At the end of the pine wood, when you find an ice-cream shop (which I definitely recommend!), turn left downhill: now the trail resumes its course along the coastline. From this point forward, the trail is named “Lungomare Alberto Sordi“, in memory of the late Italian actor. Here, the path bends several times, following the cliffed coast.
Then, the paved trail ends, but you can go down a few steps and keep walking through the huge boulders. This place is named “Punta Righini“. After walking through a very narrow crevice (I still find this spot kinda adventurous after so many years), keep following the path and shortly you will finally find a large space covered by pebbles and surrounded by huge boulders. Just climb one of them, sit down, relax and enjoy the amazing view over the sea! And don’t forget to bring your favourite book with you to have a good read breathing the salty sea breeze!
This is also a perfect location to see a beautiful sunset: it is definitely worth the waiting!
I hope you will enjoy this walk as much as I do every time I take it.
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