Valley Cornia - the southern part of the Etruscan Coast - is a strip of land opposite the Elba Island and behind the city of Piombino, which extends along the Populonia promontory and the sea, as if it seeks the ancient conjunction between mainland and the Tuscan Arcipelago. This land, largely largely cleared of ponds and swamps in the last century, now has an extraordinary natural and cultural heritage which make it an attractive alternative to traditional tourist destinations: a place where nature and archeology converge to let you discover the charm of another Tuscany, not very well known but much appreciated by tourists who have already discovered it. Year by year, the local shoreline - known as Etruscan Coast - has been honored with The Blue Flag, an international award established in 1987 (European Year of Environment) with the support of two UN agencies: UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) and UNWTO (World Tourism Organization). BARATTI and POPULONIA ARCHEOLOGICAL PARK Lying between the slopes of Cape Piombino and the Gulf of Baratti which stood the Etruscan and Roman city of Populonia, this archaeological site includes a significant part of old city, its vast necropolis, its calcarenite quarries and its industrial quarters where hematite - coming from Elba Island - was transformed into iron ingots. Populonia, as the only Etruscan city overlooking the sea, was one of the main commercial centers in the ancient world: a significant amount of imported material used for funerary objects attests the wealth of its people. The park has different paths explaining the transformation of landscape over centuries through traces of ironworking as slag heaps and industrial buildings, while one of the ancient limestone quarries - reused between the IVth and IIth centuries B.C. as a necropolis - shows in the marks on its cutting face, the techniques evolution of stones extraction.
SAN SILVESTRO ARCHEOLOGICAL and MINING PARK This park - set just behind Cape Piombino - covers approximately 450 hectares along the Campiglia Marittima hills, characterized by rich mineral deposits of copper, lead, silver and zinc. From the protohistoric era until the seventies of last century, the extraction and processing of those metals were the main activities of the surrounding area. Traces left by Etruscan, medieval, Renaissance and modern workers, guide visitors from the ancient techniques of extraction to the industrial mining and metallurgical processes of recent ages. The medieval San Silvestro Rock - a village founded by Gherardesca family in Xth and XIth centuries and populated by miners and metal smelters - is a very particular and interesting settlement. A route through the remains of the houses, the church, the cemetery, the manor house and industrialist area leads visitors to explore the social and economic organization, the food habits and the building and metallurgical techniques of a medieval community.
STREPAIA COASTAL PARK Covering about 230 hectares along the Tyrrhenian coastline - in the large Gulf between Piombino and Follonica - this park is characterized by a large and humid coastal forest, with centuries-old oaks, ash and flowering ash spontaneously born. The forest is separated from the sea only by sand dunes: a typical landscape of the ancient Maremma coast.
RIMIGLIANO COASTAL PARK This park covers about 120 hectares in the western Etruscan Coast. Despite being a naturalistic area, nevertheless, it retains some medieval and modern towers of coastal warning and control. The coastal dunes, with oaks and pines - with a characteristic umbrella-shaped foliageand - behind mediterranean bush are well preserved. Part of the protected area was once a lake (Lake Rimigliano), drained between the second half of the IXXth and the first decades of the XXth centuries, making this park interesting for the study of ancient marshlands and lakes in the coastal flat land.
MONTIONI NATURAL PARK Located between Cornia and Pecora Valleys, this park covers approximately 8000 hectares of forests in the hill system between Massa Marittima and Suvereto: an interesting landscape closely related to human activities. Since the IXX century, the Montioni forest has in fact represented a coal reservoir for blast furnaces in Follonica, soffering massive cuts. Its alum deposits (used for tanning leather and fixing colors on tissues) were widely exploited since the XV century, but mainly in the first decades of the IXX century when the principes of Piombino, Felice and Elisa Baiocchi, founded a mining village (Montioni Nuovo), still clearly visible with its open pit mines, tunnels, furnaces and transport system of materials.
POGGIO NERI FOREST PARK In the hills area around Sassetta, this park covers about 700 hectares, 600 of wich entirely wooded. It's very interesting for its vegetation and fauna, typical of hill forests in Maremma, with a strong presence of wild ungulates.