Tuscany is famous for being one of the world’s most beautiful regions: A land of rolling green hills and picturesque towns and cities. It's less well known for its coastal areas. But here you'll find the food and wine equally memorable, the crowds smaller, the climate cooled by sea breezes and deserted beaches. Cities like Florence and Lucca are just a short drive or bus-ride away.
Starting with the sand, many of Tuscany’s beaches are Blue Flag standard, and there are even more on the Tuscan islands, including Elba, Italy’s third-largest island after Sicily and Sardinia. You can reach Elba, famous for being the island of Napoleon’s exile, from the historic little port of Piombino on the Tuscan coast.
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South of Piombino is the town of Capalbio, an attractive option for a Tuscan coast stay. Set slightly inland, it has the benefit of a scenic situation, surrounded by those Tuscan hills where vineyards flourish. It’s popular with Rome’s intellectual elite, and has plenty of trattorias serving gourmet food. It’s also only a 20-minute drive from the coast and the promontory of L’Argentario.
L’Argentario is another good base for enjoying the best of both worlds in Tuscany. This upmarket outcrop with its densely wooded hills has a golf course, a yacht harbo, and colorful fishing ports. Its eating options range from simple trattoria serving freshly caught fish to Michelin starred restaurants.
Talamone is based around another outcrop jutting into the sea, a fishing village that was fortified like several others along this coast. It sits at the southern end of the Monti dell'Uccellina, a nature reserve that has both thick woodland where wild boar live and three miles of white sand beach. Being protected, the beach is undeveloped and peaceful. It's one of Italy's finest, equidistant from both Florence and Rome, and seemingly a million miles from either.
For more advice on exploring Italy and the Tuscan coast, go to www.insightguides.com.