Tuscany has earned its place as one of Italy’s top food and wine regions, with magnificent rolling countryside interspersed with vineyards. But you might be surprised to hear that it’s also home to some of Italy’s best beaches. There’s over 250 miles of coastline to play with here; most of it wild, rugged and totally unspoilt. Here are five of our favourites to look out for, plus a handy map to help plan your route.
A classic Tuscan seaside resort, Forte dei Marmi has beaches down to a T. Perfectly set up for making the most of Tuscany’s weather, the main beach sits in the heart of the resort backed by a good choice of bagni (beach clubs), filled with colourful loungers and bars. You’ll be spoilt for choice at lunch, with all kinds of local restaurants and plenty of good seafood. If you feel like a break from the sand, you can wander inland to explore the weekly market.
Just off Tuscany’s coast, Elba Island is one Italy’s most beautiful – and lesser-known – islands. It’s home to over 150 beaches that look like they belong in the Indian Ocean, and unlike on the mainland, most of them are free to enjoy. Our favourite is Procchio, a fabulous kilometre-long sweep of powder-fine sand that’s the longest spot on the island. The sea here is a brilliant shade of turquoise with a shallow sea bed, so it’s a good choice for families with children. There are plenty of facilities, too, including sun beds, pedalos and a car park.
Nicknamed the ‘Miami of the Maremma’ for its white-sand beaches and relaxed feel, Follonica’s coast is a playground for beach lovers. The main section – Il Lido – is popular with families, with good facilities and plenty of places to eat. The clear, shallow water is lovely for swimming, and the golden sand is unbelievably soft and fine. If you prefer a little more peace and quiet with your sunbathing, you can head further along the coast to find a deserted spot.
Castiglione della Pescaia
The scenic coast of the Grosseto region, Castiglione delle Pescaia has spectacular views out to Elba Island, with Tuscany’s signature wild beauty and unspoilt landscapes. The beach is long enough to have plenty of secluded spots worth discovering, while centrally you’ll have your pick of beach clubs and restaurants to keep you going. Castiglione della Pescaia is also great for watersports, attracting sailors and windsurfers to its breezy, crystal-clear waters.
Marina di Albarese
If you prefer to stay away from the crowds, Marina di Albarese is for you. This four-mile beach is located within the Maremma Nature Park and is backed by a stretch of thick forest and woodland. Rural and quiet, you’re more likely to encounter deer and wild horses than crowds of beach-goers, although the sand remains as fine and the sea as clear as any beach on the Tuscany Coast. There isn’t as much in the way of facilities here, so make sure you bring your own lunch and drinks.