Off the beaten track in Tuscany

Tuscany never loses its power to attract: the rolling green hills, the cypress-lined driveways and the picturesque villages where time seems to have stood still. The most obvious places to visit during a holiday in Tuscany are the well-known cities, Florence, Siena and Pisa. These are all cities that lie quite a way inland. But what can you get up to during a holiday on the Tuscan coast?

You’ll certainly find cosy, idyllic coastal villages where you can smell the salty sea air and order the fresh fish of the day in a restaurant in the evening. Make sure to visit coastal villages like Piombino, on the Massoncello peninsula. But if you’re more someone who enjoys bigger towns, Livorno and Grosseto are well worth a visit.

The Venice of western Italy?

If you’re after an Italian city full of canals, Venice isn’t your only choice. Livorno, a port city, also has an old quarter with plenty of stretches of canal that you can still walk along today. This neighbourhood is at its best during the Effetto Venezia (“Venice Effect”): while that festival is on, you’ll find music, drama and art on offer, and the streets and canals are elaborately decorated.

Livorno

The city’s loveliest square is right on the seaside: Terrazza Mascagni. Its black-and-white paving squares and the long parapet — more than four thousand columns long— form a gorgeous sight together with the view out to sea.

Campings near Livorno

Tasteful Grosseto

At first sight, you might not think Grosseto was one of Tuscany’s most beautiful towns: to reach the historic centre, you have to drive through some suburbs that aren’t really worth visiting. But once you’ve passed within the original city wall, a true mediaeval city awaits you. The absolute focal point of this historical city centre is the large Piazza Dante. Built around the large twelfth-century cathedral (Duomo), this is a square of characteristic Italian character.

If you’re looking for a really authentic Italian cafe to stop at during a wander through the city, Sol Caffè is your best bet. It is a coffee bar that boasts several remarkable coffees of varied flavours, and even pink whipped cream. For ice cream, the finest establishment is Gelateria Sweet Kiss. Something else you can’t miss when visiting an Italian city, of course, is a genuine enoteca (wine bar). For this experience, pop in to Canapino, and don’t forget to order some of their delicious snacks to go with your glass of wine.

Campings near Grosseto

In the footsteps of Napoleon

On the peninsula of Massoncello, between Livorno and Grosseto, is the port town of Piombino. It used to be an island, as Elba still is, but soil deposition has turned this former island into an extension of the Italian mainland. It is well worth taking the time to explore this town on foot. Make sure you wander out to the tower opposite the Maritime Museum, from where there’s a lovely view over the sea.

Elba

Ferries depart Piombino daily for Elba and Bastia (Corsica). Elba is very manageable as a day trip, but of course you can also make it a stay of a night or two. The ferry lands at Portoferraio, the island’s capital. Follow in Napoleon’s footsteps by visiting the Palazzina dei Mulini, where he was exiled in 1814. If it’s the beautiful beaches and granite cliffs that are attracting you to Elba, then take the bus to Biodola beach or Viticcio beach.

Discover the Tuscan coastline from a base at Park Albatros

If you’d like to have Livorno, Grosseto and Elba all within reach while having a camping holiday on the coast of Tuscany, but would also like to be able to enjoy Tuscany’s amazing interior, then book a holiday at Camping Park Albatros. This campsite is near San Vincenzo and less than a kilometre from the beach. No doubt the sand and a suntan will tempt you, but you might also enjoy lounging beside the big complex of swimming pools for an afternoon instead.

Enjoy all the delicious delights on offer at the bar and restaurant, and above all don’t forget to have a peek at the entertainment schedule from time to time to see whether they’re putting on something you’d like. Did you know that Suncamp Holidays rent out their own SunLodges at Camping Park Albatros? SunLodges are de-luxe glamping accommodation options, and if you go for one of these, you’ll be assured that you won’t do without anything during your holiday.

Esther Schaap
  • Auteur: Esther Schaap
  • Esther is a huge travel enthusiast, whether it's a city trip or a camping holiday. She has just one requirement – the area must have enough museums and ancient architecture for her to get her 'dose' of culture. She loves to go to France, Spain and Italy.

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