The Baratti Bay – The Archeological Park of Baratti, Populonia and the Fairy Hole

Golfo di Baratti 1The “Baratti Bay” is at the extreme north of the Municipality of Piombino and takes its name from the village “Baratti”, which is a little town of Etruscan origin well known for the sacred tombs that testimony this civilization in this area of Tuscany.

During the period of the Etruscans and after during the Roman Period, Baratti was a harbour for the city of Populonia – in fact, the iron estracted from the Island of Elba was brought here.

The accumulation of the debris due to the cork of the iron covered the area of Baratti overlooking the sea and helped conserve the archeological heritage up to the last period of the 19th century when the first archeological expeditions brought the enormous patrimony back to life in the area. In 1968 a silver amphora of the 6th Century of Anthiochia was discovered in the bay and is now conserved in the Archeological Museum of Populonia and Piombino.Tomba a tumulo (tomba dei carri, necropoli di San Cerbone, Populonia)

During your visit in Tuscany, have a walk along the beach of the Bay of Baratti and you will be seized by the sight of the hillside with the remains of Populonia which is a real open air museum with remains of the Etruscan population.

The Archeological Park of Baratti and Populonia includes the area of the Necropolis of San Cerbone where there are the spoils of many different periods (from tombs with simple mounds to tombs with the typical Etruscan Housing called “Edicola”); it also includes the Necropolis of the Grotte (=Caverns) which you can see accessing the forrest pathway of Via delle Cave up to Belvedere and then descending down towards the sea; here, around the 4th century B.C., Etruscan “Tombe a Camera” (=room tombs – a burial chamber) where made and are accessible by the stairs carved into the rock. This area was also known for the intense activity of rock extraction and was used to build the most important monuments in the city of Populonia.

Golfo di Baratti 2

From 2007 the park includes the top of the acropolis and the Monastery of San Quirico (dated in the Middle Ages) with different pathways that allow you to get a more englobing vision of the antique city and of the surrounding area.

From the Bay of Baratti you can see a splendid panorama and if you arrive from Piombino, the first detail that catches your eye is the fantastic pine forrest (called “pineta” in Italian), overlooking the sea. The beach is wet by the clean sea and on the hillside the Castle of Populonia which dates back to the XV Century crops up. If you are in the area and you like trekking or just having simple walks, you should not miss going to the beach which is located between the rise of Piombino and Populonia called: “La Buca della Fate” (= the Fairy Hole)

To reach this beach you need to take the road that goes from the Bay of Baratti to Populonia and from the Square “del Reciso” take the path towards the “Buche delle Fate”. Beyond the wooden fence, you begin a descent in the midst of splendid olive groves and wild vegetation. After about 5 minutes walking, the path enters into a dense oak forrest where you can see on your right several Etruscan Underground Burial Chambers of the Hellenistic period.

Continuing your descent the forrest is gradually surpassed by the vegetation called “Macchia Mediterranea” with the typical shrubs and trees of the Mediterranean, specifically, Heather, Arbutus, Myrtle and many more.

The final part of the path faces a magnificent coastline, modelled by the atmospheric events surrounded by a deep turquoise sea where wild sea fennel, carrots and other odorous plants grow freely.

On these cliffs, radicated in the rock you can find some examples of Dwarf Palms which are the only plants that grow spontaneaously in the mediterranean.

This area can be toured all year and the Archeological park is open year long but we advise that you go there in summer, in a hot day and take a dip in the crystalline blue waters of the Buca delle Fate.

Caterina Pomini


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