A long time ago, the extreme edges of the Etruscan Empire housed Castiglioncello, whose origins date back indeed between the end of the IV and the beginning of the III century BC. The village used to be a Pisan outpost to guard Via Aurelia and the nearby coast.
During the XVIII century, some important archaeological excavations have brought back to life a big necropolis (more than 350 tombs) which witnesses the close relationship with the city of Volterra as well as the great prosperity of Castiglioncello between the III and II century BC. From the I century BC the village slowly declined, the numerous reasons probably depended on the construction of Via Aemilia Scauri that cat it off the big traffics.
Since the Roman Age, Castiglioncello has been a vacation place, as witnessed by the findings of large and luxury villas of that time. During the first Middle Ages, the Pisan Counts Del Porto built a lovely castle called Castiglione Mondiglio, Castiglioncello's medieval name.
Around the XV century, the Medici family built a sighting tower, part of a fortification system positioned all along the coastline to protect the region against the innumerable Saracen incursions.
Anyway the tourist fortune of Castiglioncello started from the second half of 1800, when the art critic and benefactor Diego Martelli built here his own residence – today called Castello Pasquini – and hosted permanently the famous group of Tuscan painters, known as Macchiaioli (forerunners of the French Impressionists). Great artists like: Abbati, Fattori, Sernesi, Borrani, Cabianca created the School of Castiglioncello.
The Castle Pasquini has become the national landmark of important conventions about childhood and disarmament, further than seat of the traditional Dance Festival and Literary Award "Castiglioncello Costa degli Etruschi".
Around 1850, in Florence, the habitués of the Caffè Michelangelo - usual meeting place of the academy artists - decided to share their knowledge and compare their pieces of art with the French ones. In 1850 two artists from Naples arrived in Florence: Domenico Morelli and Saverio Altamura which were quite keen on the new French technique called "Ton girls": the art of portraying by increasing the contrast among the colours.
All the artists from the Caffè Michelangelo became all fond of these new artistic trend and
started to paint and represent an unusual topic for the Tuscan School: landscapes. The new school used to be called "Scuola di Staggia", headed by Serafino De Tivoli. Unfortunately we cannot admire any of those oeuvres, as all of them have been lost. Among the goods inherited from Martelli, there was a huge property, of more than 800 hectares, extending from the gulf to the hills of Nibbiaia. Castiglioncello offered uncontaminated landscapes and rare natural beauties, source of great inspiration, which can still be fully admired and enjoyed along with the nearby Rosignano Solvay and Rosignano Marittima. ;-)
Explore nearby towns
Rosignano Solvay is a delightful village near Rosignano Marittima, renowned for the wide beaches and well-equipped lidos.
Riparbella is a small town near Pisa that reaches along the ridge instead of encircling the hill.
Vibrant, crowded with ships and boats puff, Livorno has plenty of the typical lively elements of a place where there is no space for monotony.
Been there? Done that? Share your experience and tips!
Haven't visited yet? Have questions about Castiglioncello? Ask them here!