biking costa degli etruschi

By bike between the coast and the hinterland, pedalling slowly

On the saddle of a road bike, gliding gently along the winding road that reveals views of the sea and then thickly wooded areas, you can discover the secret corners of the Etruscan Coast.


Among the coastal areas and the Mediterranean maquis that delimit the Etruscan Coast, historical and food and wine traditions thrive, places of culture recount the age-old history of this area and vast panoramas open up between the sea and the hills. A cycling itinerary from the coast to the villages of the hinterland is ideal for absorbing the unique sensations and beauty of the Etruscan Coast, which reveals itself gradually to those who pedal slowly.

The route begins in Castiglioncello, a coastal town renowned for its beaches and the Medici watchtower, from the top of you can see the nearby tower of Vada; both were part of a defensive system that extended along the whole the coast to protect it from enemy and pirate raids. The first stop is the Palazzo Bombardieri Civic Archaeological Museum, housed in an historic building in Rosignano Marittimo, where finds illustrating the events and disputes that have characterized the area are conserved. From Rosignano the route proceeds inland through quiet fields and low inclines while the bicycle glides smoothly along long the straight lines and round the slight bends of a stretch of road that is perfect for relaxing and enjoying the surrounding countryside.

Biking Costa degli Etruschi

The first stop in the hinterland is Pomaia, a small hamlet in the Municipality of Santa Luce which has been the home for over forty years of the Lama Tzong Khapa Institute for the practice and study of Tibetan Buddhism; between the quiet and silent architecture where meditation is practised and Buddhist mantras are chanted, it is possible to stop in the Tea Garden and appreciate these ancient traditions whilst tasting herbal teas and infusions of exceptional quality from all over the world and enjoying a break before setting off again.

From Pomaia you can opt to continue towards the LIPU (Italian Bird Protection League) Lago di Santa Luce Nature Reserve and take advantage of the trails that cross this beautiful protected lake area, ideal for birdwatchers; not far away, the countryside and the fragrant lavender fields surrounding the village of Santa Luce are the backdrop for romantic, relaxing rides in this surprising area of Tuscany. Alternatively, starting from Pomaia, you can cycle to discover the villages of the hinterland along an equally fascinating but more challenging route.

Montescudaio Costa degli Etruschi

Skirting the woods of the Pisan hills and venturing into the landscape that reveals itself after each bend in the road, you reach Castellina Marittima, where one of the sites of the Alabaster Ecomuseum is well worth visiting because it illustrates the history the miners (called “cavaioli”), their communities and the processing of this splendid white stone, which was widely used in Etruscan times. The exploration continues downhill towards Riparbella, where the pleasure of good food is expressed in the local cuisine and its numerous dishes based on wild boar. The surrounding area – cultivated with vines and olive trees – produces varieties of wine and extra virgin olive oil according to the principles of organic and biodynamic agriculture.

For fitter cyclists, the road following the hills leads to medieval villages such as Montescudaio and Guardistallo, which boast beautiful views of the surrounding nature and high quality, locally produced olive oil. The route back to the coast is along the road from Riparbella to Cecina, where the scent of the sea accompanies every turn of the pedal, in anticipation of the view of the immense blue expanse of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Those who want to cycle along the coast can follow the marked itineraries in the 430-hectare Tomboli di Cecina Biogenetic Nature Reserve, with its sea breeze and refreshing shade, which extends between the municipalities of Bibbona and Rosignano.

The many roads and itineraries available to cyclists and walkers are of varying lengths and difficulties and can be consulted on the interactive map; these are just a selection of the countless experiences to be enjoyed on the Etruscan Coast.

To find out more:

Interactive map of outdoor itineraries

Civic Archaeological Museum in Rosignano Marittimo

Lama Tzong Khapa Buddhist Institute

LIPU (Italian Bird Protection League) Lago di Santa Luce Nature Reserve