Once a center of iron extraction, today Piombino has a much more pleasant appeal, flavored by such facts as being “decorated” by one of Napoleon’s sisters, who had a fancy of turning it into a “little Paris”. Tourists who come here today so do for the scenery and the Italy yacht charter opportunities that also afford them visits to the neighboring Elba island.
The small town of Piombino is easy to spot on any map of Italy. It’s located on the promontory jutting out into the Tyrrhenian Sea towards the island of Elba on the country’s western coast, in a region known as Livorno. sailors know this port as an easy access to the Tuscan archipelago and also a haven for yacht enthusiasts.
The city was born on the extraction of iron ore which was plentiful in the region but that doesn’t mean you’ll be visiting an industrial city. Piombino resembles nothing like the large man-made urban centers, on the contrary, it’s a small, quiet town with a lot of history. The city was the capital of the region in the past and is an integral part of the Etruscan metalwork tradition. The artsy side of the town emerged when Piombino was entrusted to Napoleon’s sister who turned into a “little Paris”.
Travel & Arrival
Air travel is not always a viable option, especially when it’s a small town we’re talking about. The nearest international airport to Piombino is Galileo Galilei in Pisa, 113km to the north, up the coast. However you make the transfer is your choice. You could catch a bus or use a taxi or rental car from the airport.
By water, the port of Piombino is linked some other destinations along the coast and also islands such as Elba (via the port of Portoferraio) or with Olbia on Sardinia a trip which lasts 4 hours (as opposed to the 1 hours it takes to get to Portoferraio). The ferry system is very reliable and is a viable alternative. The only thing is that any group should make an early booking as places are limited.
Avant & Apres Sail
The city seems to have been destined for greatness since the old center lies high on a plateau above the sea, affording any visitor a wonderful of the archipelago and the sea. The first place you should to once you’re in town is the Giovanni Borio piazza to get a glimpse of the great sailing opportunities to be found here.
Next, you should stop by some of the local attractions such as the Palazzo Communale which was built by the Pisanes in the 13th century (restored and rebuilt several times since then), the castle of Piombino from the 16th century which also happens to be the town’s highest point. The small town also enjoys some 31km of beach (22km with sand and 9km with pebble).
The old part of town is also the place to head when shopping as there are plenty such venues in the Piazza Verdi, both modern and old. Other places to go to when shopping are the busy boulevard Corso Italia and the Via Lombroso. If these places don’t make a dent in your budget, nothing will.
A wide assortment of restaurants, pizzerias and bars ensures that no one lacks a good meal out, and guests are always eager to have a taste of the famous Tuscan cuisine which is today famed for its low calorie count but also for its exquisite tastes. During the spring and the autumn a good idea would be to dine at an outside venue since the whole town is filled with fragrant aromas typical of the Mediterranean shrubs.
Events & Actions
When going to a small town, there is always the danger of going bored pretty quickly but that’s not the case with Piombino, which seems to offer an endless supply of activities. Apart from the beaches, there are extensive sporting facilities for tennis, football, roller-skating, horse riding and trekking on land while on water there are numerous boat trips and, of course, diving.
Out of town, the sailor can go visit the Orti-Bottagone marsh which covers 109 hectares and has some very rare plant and bird species such as the saltwort and the blackwinged stilt or grey heron. This would make a great place for bird watching and there are even trails and observation points set up for tourists.