San Vincenzo is a pretty holiday resort in Livorno’s province located on the centre of the fascinating shoreline of “The Coast of the Etruscans”, which is included in the maritime area of the Val di Cornia, in the northern section of the Maremma coastline. The town is situated at 50 kilometres southeast from the city of Livorno and around 100 kilometres southwest from Florence.
San Vincenzo, covering a territorial area of more than 33 square kilometres, is located in the zone where the “Metalliferous Hills” reach the sea. The area goes from the north of the headland of Piombino to the hills rising towards the east.
The town is considered all over Italy one of the best equipped nautical resorts in Tuscany, supplied with all the tourist facilities conceivable. San Vincenzo has an outstanding harbour qualified to host around three hundred boats, as well as one of the most extensive lodging offers in the “Coast of the Etruscans”.
Its wide unpolluted beach, awarded with the “Blue Flag” by the European Union, consist of ten kilometres of pale soft sand surrounded by impressive Mediterranean vegetation and trees reaching almost to the sea, due to its nearness to the wild protected Park of Rimigliano, where pine trees, oaks, and elms grow among some rare species of flora, like the sea lilies.
On the other hand, its proximity to the Etruscan town of Populonia and to other important archaeological sites located in the area, like the celebrated Etruscan Necropolis of Baratti - the only funerary position in the ancient Etruria constructed close to the sea - as well as it ownership to the celebrated Road Wine of Val di Cornia, turns San Vincenzo into an ideal location where relaxing and have a funny sea holidays can be combined with cultural and naturalistic activities, without missing such as unforgettable pleasures as the outstanding local gastronomy and wine tasting, where the prestigious wines called IGT Toscana Pinot(red), IGT Toscana Vermentino (white), DOC Val di Cornia (red), IGT Toscana Sauvignon (white) or the IGT Toscana Pinot (rosé) are produced.
The part of the “Coast of the Etruscans” where San Vincenzo stands was already inhabited near the beginning of the Palaeolithic era, but that maritime territory acquired a relevant development with the Etruscan civilization. The main centre there located was the neighbouring Populonia seaport, a busy military and merchant town, connected by sea to the Island of Elba. In Populonia are still visible the impressive vestiges of its walls, dwellings and necropolis, which reveal the grandeur of the town when it was ruled by the Etruscans and then by the Romans, before it was devastated by the barbarians in the 6th century AD.
Populonia hosts a remarkable archaeological museum, the “Museum Gasparri”, which is not to be missed.
When the Romans conquered the zone, San Vincenzo was crossed by the “Via Aurelia”. It is believed that a small village was already there standing. In the 9th century the town, formerly called San Vicentium, was the site of a refuge for pilgrims in their way to Rome. Then the area of San Vincenzo became a feud of the Counts of Biserno, a branch of the powerful della Gheradesca family, who set up the so called “Estate of Biserno”. Despite that the Biserno family was closely bound to the Marine Republic of Pisa, between them and the central power started a series of politic conflicts, which lasted until 1296. Then the army of Pisa razed to the ground the Biserno possessions and the small hamlet, moving the inhabitants to a settlement set up close to the huge Tower of San Vicenzo, a coastal watch tower with a bastion, constructed by the Pisans to protect that maritime section from enemy attacks. Pisa ruled the town until 1405, when Florence conquered the entire territory of Maremma. Nevertheless, between the end of the 15th century and the first 16th years, the Republic of Pisa and its former territorial jurisdiction knew a brief sort of independence from Florence. So the Republic of Pisa made a desperate attempt to re-conquer its almost completely lost self-determination. When the city of Pisa was already besieged by the Florentine army, in the early morning of August 17th 1505, was fought nearby the Tower of San Vincenzo a decisive battle between Florence and Pisa. The Florentine troops were conducted by the condottiere Count Ercole Bentivoglio di Bologna, while the Guelph condottiere Bartolomeo dei Liviani, Lord of Pordenone, Attigliano and Alviano, conducted 300 soldiers, besides 500 men recruited along the territory of Maremma, to defend the Republic of Pisa. The inevitably defeat of the improvised even if brave troops headed by Bartolomeo dei Liviani meant the end of the Marine Republic of Pisa. Therefore, San Vincenzo followed the fortunes of Florence and then the one of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany until the reunification of Italy.
The “Salone dei Cinquecento”, in the Palazzo della Signoria in Florence, hosts an imposing fresco known as “La Battaglia di Torre San Vincenzo” painted by the great Tuscan artist Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574), depicting the victory of the Florentine army over the Pisa’s defenders.
On the other hand, the Palazzo della Cultura in San Vincenzo houses an outstanding triptych representing the famous battle, created in 1990 by the talented young Tuscan painter Daniele Govi (Piombino, 1960).
The decoration of the exclusive “Caffè Manfredi” in San Vincenzo was also entrusted to Daniele Govi.
Where to eat:
- Ristorante “Il Gambero Rosso” (Piazza della Vittoria, 13). A visit to this restaurant is not to be missed. It is a renowned Michelin- starred restaurant, considered as one of the best restaurants in Italy. Its superb creative cuisine, managed by one of the main chefs in the country, Fulvio Pierangelini, is based on local recipes prepared with the best inner and maritime products of the zone.
The excellent wine list is predominantly composed of red, white and rosé wines coming from the famous Pierangelini’s cellars in San Vincenzo (DOC and IGT Valdicornia’s wines).
A full meal is over 60 €.
- Ristorante “La Barcaccina” (Via Tridentina). It is a fine formal restaurant located in a wonderful spot close to beach. Its cuisine offers a top quality of fish and seafood dishes.
Its selected wines are, of course, from the “Wine Roads of the Etruscan Coast”.
A full meal is about 45/50 €.
- “Ristorante “La Campiggiana” (Via della Principessa, 116). It is a small stylish restaurant close to the sea surrounded by amazing Mediterranean vegetation.
Its refined cuisine is based on traditional local recipes. The delicious antipasti and the homemade desserts are a must. Wine list is very good.
A full meal is around 40/45 €.
Among the numerous Pizzerias in San Vincenzo, offering also good antipasti, salads and pasta, we suggest you:
- Pizzeria “I Tre Moschettieri” (Via della Principessa, 87). Around 25/30 €.
- Pizzeria “ Il Faro” (Via Pianosa, 12). Around 25/30 €
- Pizzeria “La Lampara” (Via Vittorio Emmanuele II, 74). Around 20/25 €.
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