Follonica is located on the large gulf to which it gives its name, in a semicircle limited by the pine forest of Piombino to the north and by Punt’Ala to the south; from the sandy beach the Island of Elba is visible. Thanks to its beach, centuries-old pine forests and Mediterranean scrub, the safety of the sea and the mild climate, Follonica has become a very important seaside resort.
Environment and territory
Follonica The city is part of the Maremma museum circuit, with its Metalliferous Hills. In fact, the area is characterized by mineral deposits already exploited in the Middle Ages; despite being the largest mountain system in Tuscany, it is mainly hilly.
Thanks to the splendid pine forests, there are many parks in this area. Follonica is part of three national parks: the Marsiliana Animal Population Nature Reserve, the Tomboli di Follonica Biogenetic Nature Reserve and the Poggio Tre Cancelli Integral Reserve.
In its gulf, devoid of currents, there are small coves with clear waters and white sand beaches, rich in vegetation.
Follonica The name of the town comes from the Etruscan fullona, which indicated the place where the garments were made and dyed. The main activity, however, already in ancient times was iron and steel and mining: the city is in fact located above an ancient Etruscan village of the VII-VI century. BC, and on some hills rich in minerals. Traces of many lime kilns have also been found, which prove an intense building activity. Around the sixteenth century the Appiani princes established a foundry there, which was enlarged at the end of the century, when the city passed to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. From 1836 it became the main Tuscan iron and steel center. Only in the twentieth century, coinciding with an exceptional demographic development, did it become an important seaside resort.
The Archaeological Museum of Follonica is located within the Ex-Ilva district, in the foundry number 2. Here the Etruscan finds found in the area are exhibited; mainly they are iron and steel finds, very rare testimonies of real life of this ancient people. Inside some showcases there are very well preserved ovens.
This structure is flanked by the Museum of iron and cast iron, still within the ex-lva area. The Royal Foundries, established by Leopold II, were designed by Alessandro Minetti and Carlo Reishammer. With the creation of this factory-city began the development that led Follonica to its current structure. Leopold II personally took care of the adaptation of the systems, making this initial city nucleus a basis for the reclamation of the entire Maremma area. The factory is accessed via a neoclassical-style gate, on which stands a torch, symbol of the iron and steel industry and on which is present, in addition to motifs of cornucopias and fruit, the Savoy coat of arms. On the sides of the gate there are two guard houses, at the time manned by the Guardia di Finanza. The director’s building, still in the neoclassical style, housed the workers’ lodgings and maintained its residential function until the mid-nineteenth century, when the management was transferred there; this office remained inside the building until the closure of the plant in 1960. The most important building in the area is the Palazzo Granducale, which housed Leopold II during his stays in Follonica. The interiors are beautifully frescoed and rich in stucco with floral motifs. The home and office of the forest inspector were located on the top floor, the third. It currently houses the State Forestry Corps. In the middle school area, on the other hand, there were the tavern and the butcher’s shop, as well as the warehouses: in the 19th century the building was used partly as a stable and partly as a laboratory, until the closure of the foundry. One of the oldest monuments in this area is the San Frediano oven, built on the ruins of an ancient mill from the 1400s: the oven was already in use during the mid-sixteenth century, and its structure was so good that it remained in use until ‘Nineteenth century. On the other hand, where the small chapel was located, an oratory was built in 1700 and subsequently a building was built next to it that housed the direction of the ovens. Only around 1930 was the Clock Tower built, which was used as accommodation for employees after the construction of the Grand Ducal Palace.
Just outside the city walls are the Church of San Leopoldo and the Modigliani Art Gallery.
Follonica The Church was built in the early 1800s, following the growth of the town; unusual materials were used for its construction, such as cast iron of which almost all the decorations are made. This is the only church in all of Italy to have a pediment made with this material.
The Pinacoteca, on the other hand, stands where the sixteenth-century warehouses were previously located, and had various uses: it was a house of the Fascio, then the seat of a technical institute and public offices. It has only recently become the municipal art gallery: it mainly houses works by contemporary artists.
: In addition to being a rich area from a historical-cultural and naturalistic point of view, Maremma is also a LAND OF WINE.
Like Tuscany in general, the Maremma area is an important point of reference for Italian enology; in fact, in this land vines are grown which – combined with the particular climate, the soil in which they grow and the skill of the producers – are able to produce a very high quality wine.
It is quite unlikely that the reader has never heard of Morellino di Scansano, Bianco di Pitigliano, Ansonica Costa dell’Argentario, Parrina …etc. All D.O.C. wines produced in this land where man has been able to grasp and hand down to the present day the traditions and customs of hundreds of years ago, when it was the Etruscans who produced, experimented and made wine into a real and proper trade.
In fact, Maremma is a wine that is making its mark all over the world; a wine made of tradition but at the same time also of technology, history, vines which, most likely, have found their origins in this land. Maremma is also concentrating many capital investments in the wine sector, proof of its marked winemaking vocation (just think of the Petra winery in Suvereto, a mix of experience and creativity with a modern and captivating design, capable of producing over 800,000 bottles of wine with its 300 hectares of surface). Cala Violina is a wonderful inlet in the Gulf of Follonica, in the heart of the Bandite di Scarlino nature reserve in the province of Grosseto. Far from traffic and the onslaught of holidaymakers, it has been classified as one of the three most beautiful and pristine beaches in Italy. The inlet takes its name from a feature of its sand which, walking on it, conveys the sensation of the “sound of a violin”. The beach slopes slightly into the sea with a backdrop of white sand, the clear blue water is full of fish and, not far from the shore, with the movement of the sea, shoals of oceanic Posidonia shake. Behind the strip of beach, there is a thick Mediterranean scrub forest that reaches a few meters from the water. It is well exposed and protected from the cold northern winds and allows you to spend hours in the sun even in winter. This cove can only be reached on foot, by bicycle or on horseback, through three different paths immersed in the green vegetation. The first route starts from the Punta Ala campsite, the others from Puntone di Scarlino.
Montioni Natural Park
Follonica Municipality of Suvereto (Li), Campiglia Mma (Li), Piombino (Li), Massa Marittima (Gr), Follonica (Gr)
It extends for about 7000 hectares between the Cornia and Pecora valleys, in the hills between Massa Marittima and Suvereto. These hills, of medium altitude, are covered mainly by holm oak woods, and constitute a vegetal landscape closely linked to the action of man, in particular to the production of coal and the cutting of the forest.
In the heart of the park, further signs of man emerge from the remains of the alum quarries (used for tanning leather and for fixing colors on fabrics), and from the mining village of the Napoleonic era wanted by Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi, Napoleon’s sister.
The fauna aspect is also of great interest, due to the large number of ungulates in the wild: wild boar, fallow deer and roe deer.
Inside the park, which has an inter-provincial nature, occupying the territory of two neighboring provinces, Livorno and Grosseto, there are two state nature reserves: the Marsiliana (440 hectares) and Poggio Tre Cancelli (100 hectares).
Parco Provinciale (L.R.49/1995)
I Parchi e le Riserve Naturali in Maremma:
Area Naturale Costiere di Scarlino
Area Naturale di Baratti e Populonia
Area Naturale Fiume Cecina
Area Naturale Macchia della Magona
Area Naturale San Silvestro
Parchi della Val di Cornia
Parco Costiero della Sterpaia
Parco Costiero di Rimigliano
Parco Forestale Poggio Neri
Parco Interprovinciale di Montioni
Parco Naturale della Maremma
Parco Nazionale dell’Arcipelago Toscano
Riserva Forestale Duna Feniglia
Riserva Naturale Basso Merse
Riserva Naturale Belagaio
Riserva Naturale Bosco della S.S. Trinità
Riserva Naturale Cornate e Fosini
Riserva Naturale Diaccia Botrona
Riserva Naturale Farma
Riserva Naturale La Pietra
Riserva Naturale Lago di Burano
Riserva Naturale Marsiliana
Riserva Naturale Montauto
Riserva Naturale Monte Labbro
Riserva Naturale Monte Penna
Riserva Naturale Orbetello
Riserva Naturale Pescinello
Riserva Naturale Poggio all’Olmo
Riserva Naturale Poggio Tre Cancelli
Riserva Naturale Rocconi
Riserva Naturale Scarlino (Poggio Spedaletto)
Riserva Naturale Tomboli di Follonica (di Ponente e di Levante)
Zona di Protezione Lago di San Floriano
Zona di Protezione Parte Alta del Monte Amiata
Zona di Protezione Poggio Canaloni
Zona umida Padule di Bolgheri
Viale Italia 309
58022 Follonica (GR)