Follonica is essentially a very pleasant and popular seaside resort, located at 40 kilometres northwest of Grosseto, the capital city of the province. Follonica with almost 22,000 inhabitants is, after Grosseto, the second town in population of the province.
The town is standing in the middle of the wonderful Gulf of Follonica, offering impressing landscapes from Punta Ala, in the southeast, to Piombino, in the northwest, and towards the sea to the Elba Island.
The Gulf of Follonica pertains to the northern shoreline of the Tuscan territory of Maremma, known as “Alta Maremma” (High Maremma), covering around 130 kilometres of coast.
The climate is very mild there making the exuberant vegetation growing nearby the sea to start blooming even in February. The resort towns and fishing villages standing in the gulf’s area offer kind extensive sandy beaches, beautiful natural spots and gentle hills to go on a hike, while enjoying the fascinating countryside lying at the feet of its slopes, where some of the most generous olive growths in Tuscany are there set.
The “Alta Maremma” covers also the protected area of the “Colline Metallifere” (Metalliferous Hills), which since ancient times has been the main centre of the mining industry in Tuscany.
The Archaeological and Technological Park of the Metalliferous Hills includes an enormous area characterized by hills to the sea, starting in the environments of the municipality of Grosseto and going up to the boundaries with the province of Siena, Livorno and Pisa. The impressing area rises from the highland district of the Cornate di Gerfalco and goes down through the hills going on to the extensive Gulf of Follonica and to the north of the Maremma shoreline. The vast territory is plenty of an enchanting and varied countryside, from the large oak woods in the inner zone to the amazing multicoloured Mediterranean vegetation, where the old abundant green pine woods stand out, reaching the wonderful white sandy beaches gently washed by a transparent and an unpolluted sea.
The main towns included in the territory of the “Metalliferous Hills” are: Follonica, Gavorrano, Massa Marittima, Montieri, Monterotondo Marittimo, Roccastrada and Scarlino.
The name of Follonica has its origins in the word “fulloni”, which was the yell used in the past in the foundries set in the town. The story of the town is closely related to the iron manufacture, which was started by the Etruscan civilization. It is known that the Etruscans, and subsequently the Romans, were expert craftsmen and merchants in copper, silver and iron coming from the mines standing in the proximities of many of their settlements and towns in Tuscany, like the mining centres of Gavorrano, Montieri and Monterotondo, which rich resources allowed an important economic increase to their respective communities. In fact, the diverse and significant archaeological excavations made in Etruscan settlements from the 6th century BC ca., located in the areas of Rondelli and Val Petraia, reveal that the elaborated series of objects and adorns made from different metals found out belonged to populations who were ahead of their time in relation to a large part of those who were established in other areas of Etruria.
Most of those astonishing findings are currently hosted in highly interesting Archaeological Museum of Follonica.
In the Middle Ages, Follonica and its neighbouring areas were for the most part formed by insalubrious and marshy lands, which were not appropriated for farming activities, so its main economical resources came from the iron extraction and from the resultant foundries situated in the Appiani’s zone.
Starting from the 16th century those foundries saw a significant increase thanks to the arrival of the Medici domination over the zone. Nevertheless, the real development for the iron industry started in the second half of the 18th century when Tuscany was ruled by the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty, reaching a great improvement after the reunification of Italy.
Maybe the most beautiful example in Follonica of the productive relationship between iron, creativity and architectonical technique is the imposing Chiesa di S. Leopoldo di Follonica.
The church was built in the third decade of the 19th century after a project by the well-known Florentine architect Carlo Reishammer (1806-1883). The church includes abundant elements in cast iron, like the big rose window in the façade, the apse, several pieces of the indoors furnishing, as well as the summit of the pretty bell-tower.
The church was consecrated in 1838 before the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Leopold II of Habsburg-Lorraine.
Nowadays the town of Follonica has completely changed the features of industrial town it had into a fine and much appreciated holiday maritime town plenty of tourist facilities.
In the last seven years Follonica has been awarded by the “Bandiera Blù” (“Blue Flag”) thanks to the spotlessness of its beaches and of its marvellous seawater.
Where to eat:
Among the numerous restaurants in Follonica specialized in local fresh and seafood dishes, traditional Maremma’s recipes and homemade past, we suggest you:
- Ristorante “Il Tirreno” (Via Aurelia, 26). Around 40/50 €
- Ristorante “Da Maurizio” (Via delle Collacchie, 21). Around 35/45 €
- Ristorante “Da Paolino” (Piazza XXV Aprile, 33). Around 35/45 €
- Osteria “Le Steccaie” (Via Albereta, 41). Around 30/40 €
- Osteria - Ristorante “Pacianca” (Via La Marmora, 70). Around 30/40 €
And among the Pizzerias:
- Pizzeria “Scalo del Granduca” (Via Parri, 8). Around 25/30 €
- Pizzeria “Vesuvio” (Viale Italia, 40). Around 25/30 €
- Pizzeria “Scarrozzo” (Via Petrini, 8). Around 20/25 €
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