Rosignano Marittimo

Inside the signature landscapes of the Macchiaioli painters and Carducci

Visit and savour the places that inspired the brushwork of the Macchiaioli painters and the lyrics of Giosuè Carducci.


Retracing the footsteps of artists and poets and visiting the places that inspired them, offers the incomparable opportunity to discover the very place where the creative spark of their art was ignited. The panoramas and countryside of the Etruscan Coast conserve traces of the landscapes that have influenced some of the greatest paintings and poems in Italian culture and which can be discovered during an itinerary dedicated to the art that has come to life here.

Castiglioncello, like a painting

On the cliffs of the Etruscan Coast and standing out above the clear blue sea, lies the small village in the municipality of Rosignano Marittimo of Castiglioncello. Struck by its beauty, the Macchiaioli painters of the School of Castiglioncello made the pristine nature of the area one of the main subjects of their then emerging movement.

Diego Martelli, refined art critic, cosmopolitan and patron of the Macchiaioli painters transformed his farm in Castiglioncello (where the Pasquini Castle stands today) into a small, creative and pulsating colony where he could host his painter friends (Abbati, Signorini, Sernesi, Fattori, Boldini and Lega) and offer them the opportunity to study and paint in the open air. Martelli encouraged them to transport their inner spirit onto canvas thanks to the study of reality and the discovery of those secrets, like shape, light and the use of colour, that led to the birth of the “macchia” (literally patches or spots). Today, Castello Pasquini, built on the lands that belonged to Martelli, is home to exhibitions, cultural events, shows, concerts and international conferences and is well worth visiting.

Lovers of nature and culture can unite art with an excursion on foot along the path leading from Castiglioncello to Castelnuovo della Misericordia, Gabbro and Nibbiaia. The route lets you visit the spots where the Macchiaioli stopped to paint and take breaks for refreshments. The path up to Monte Pelato offers some excellent trekking even in a number of areas where W.W.II has left its mark. However, these heights are not the only ones to have been frequented by the Macchiaioli painters. In Castiglioncello, the painters saw the birth of the fragrant wooded area of Pineta Marradi and were able to walk on the beautiful beach of Quercetano Bay, where today’s water sports enthusiasts can enjoy bodyboarding, kitesurfing, sailing, windsurfing and surfing.

Castagneto Carducci, lyrical landscape

Castagneto Carducci

Moving away from the sea, for quiet trip out of town, lies a village whose name has been dedicated to the poet Giosuè Carducci since 1907. The old town of Castagneto Carducci is an unmissable destination for a pleasant evening accompanied by a mild sea breeze; in the summer it hosts festivals – such as Le Vie del Giornalismo – and concerts in the lovely Piazzetta della Gogna, where the public stocks, or “Gogna”, once stood, at the foot of the Castello della Gherardesca. In this setting, curious travellers can experience the incomparable emotion of reading Carducci’s poems in the very places that inspired them, and also visit the Casa Carducci Museum in Castagneto and the Nonna Lucia cemetery in Bolgheri.

“The tall straight cypresses in double row,

Troop from San Guido down to Bolgheri;

Like giant striplings at a race they go,

Bounding to meet and gaze once more on me.”….

Before San Guido. G Carducci.

Museo Casa Carducci Castagneto

Do not miss the iconic landscape of the Viale dei Cipressi mentioned by the poet in one of his best-known poems and which leads to Bolgheri and the Tenuta San Guido, where the famous Sassicaia wine is made. This splendid avenue is today flanked by the vineyards where some of the finest and most famous wines in the world are produced. There are restaurants, taverns and wine bars where you can taste or buy the local specialties of the Castagneto cuisine and wines.

… “yet through the village alleyways

from the fermenting casks

goes the pungent odour of wine”…

Saint Martin’s Day, by Giosue Carducci

The poet was also fascinated by the smells of wine and the salty sea air permeating the countryside and the village streets and which still pervade those very streets today. Carducci immortalised the sensation one of his most famous poems: Saint Martin’s Day.

A day spent in the haunts of the Macchiaioli painters, dedicated to art and the outdoors, can only end with the poetic verses of Giosuè Carducci, some good wine and the local Castagneto cuisine.

To find out more:

Municipality of Castagneto Carducci
Castello Pasquini
Museo Carducciano/Carducci Museum
Livorno Mountains Park