Set in the countryside of center Tuscany, just few miles from the Etruscan coast, Bolgheri is a historic medieval village amidst olive groves and vineyards. Bolgheri has extremely ancient origins, but its recent development is linked to the history of Della Gherardesca Counts. At the beginning of the XVIII century, they did a big push to the farming, began the reclamation of the swamplands and built an aqueduct.
Largo Nonna Lucia – Photo Credits: Nicola Bandini – My Travel in Tuscany
You reach Bolgheri driving along the famous Viale dei Cipressi: a 3 miles stretch of road that connects the old Via Aurelia to the village. It is a suggestive linear road flanked by two rows of centuries-old cypress trees and owes its fame to the nineteenth century Italian poet Giosuè Carducci with the poem Davanti San Guido (In front of San Guido):
I cipressi che a Bolgheri alti e schietti van da San Guido in duplice filar. The cypress trees stand straight and true from Bolgheri to San Guido in double rows.
The famous Cypress Avenue – Photo Credits: Nicola Bandini – My Travel in Tuscany
Davanti San Guido - Poem by Giosuè Carducci recited by Gino Cervi
Before you start driving to Bolgheri, I suggest a stop at the beginning of the cypress avenue to get some pictures of the Oratorio di San Guido (Oratory of San Guido) and of the small obelisk, placed there in 1908 by Giuseppe della Gherardesca to commemorate the famed poet Giosuè Carducci, Nobel Prize for literature in 1906.
The Oratory of San Guido – Photo Credits: Nicola Bandini – My Travel in Tuscany
Then reach the old building that hosts the Centro Diocesano di Spiritualità di San Guido (Diocesan Spiritual Center) and enjoy a nice walk around.
The Diocesan Spiritual Centre of San Guido – Photo Credits: Nicola Bandini – My Travel in Tuscany
The Castle of Bolgheri, with its red bricks is the only gate to enter the village. The hamlet is really enchanting and quiet. In the ancient historical center the old houses made bricks that show geranium pots at their windows. The narrow paths host tiny artisan workshops, small restaurants, taverns and gardens.
Bolgheri is the ideal spot to spend half a day on the Tuscan hills, but I strongly recommend you to take more time to enjoy the atmosphere.
The entrance in Bolgheri – Photo Credits: Nicola Bandini – My Travel in Tuscany
Things to do in Bolgheri
- Stroll about: enjoy a pleasant walk through the village, take a look of the old church of Saints Giacomo and Cristoforo; visit the tiny monumental cemetery of Nonna Lucia, the old grandmother of the poet Carducci.
- Relax: Rest in the seaside terrace along Largo Nonna Lucia having an ice cream or a glass of wine, waiting for the sunset.
- Tasting Experience: Try and taste the traditional snack called Merenda: ham and cheese sandwich with homemade Tuscan bread accompanied with one of the Bolgheri DOC red wine.
- Do the shopping: Buy local food specialty on the little shops.
- Wine Tours: Take a visit of a wine estates set along the wine road called Bolgherese, to their vineyard and cellars.
Did you know that:
- The Bolgheri region is very well known worldwide for its awarded red wines. It is the home of the original Super Tuscan wines as Sassicaia and Ornellaia, but also of many other flavored, precious and fine DOC Bolgheri’s Reds.
- Every year the first weekend of September Bolgheri Jazz takes place along the old alleys of the hamlet. This is a special opportunity to listen to good music and drink a glass of the extraordinary red.
The castle of Bolgheri and a shop of local products – Photo Credits: Nicola Bandini – My Travel in Tuscany
How to get there
Bolgheri is a 40-mile drive south from Pisa, 80 miles from Florence, 60 miles of panoramic route from Siena. It is very easy to reach. Coming from Pisa Airport, get the motorway, direction south to Rome, one hour driving, get off the exit La California, turn right and go straight for another 3 miles to reach San Guido, then turn right and go straight along the Cypress Avenue for another 3 miles.