After an intense tour of Tuscan giants such as Pisa, Florence, Livorno and Lucca. We are already very tired, we decided to listen to the advice of our Italian friends and to see this provincial Tuscany with many cypresses, which are an integral part of the Tuscan landscapes. It was decided to combine the profit with the pleasant and to enjoy not only unsurpassed landscapes, but also to taste a couple of regional varieties of wines.
Thanks to the advice of our “Tuscan friends” we have been poisoned in a small provincial town called Bolgheri.
To go from Livorno to Bolgheri alone or by car, you will need 30 minutes. But the journey is really worth it.
Bolgheri, with its ancient historic center, typical stone and red brick houses, full of food and wine shops, small restaurants and trattorias; is an example of a typical Tuscan village. You can get there from Via dei Cipressi, coming from the Oratory of San Guido.
The cypress road (Viale dei Cipressi) is a street marked on today’s maps as the 16D road, and connects the oratory of San Guidon and the Bolgheri Castle, passing through vineyards and olive groves. The road, built in the 19th century, has a length of 5 km, is surrounded by two dense series of cypresses (for a total of over 2000 trees). Originally a dirt road, in 1954 the road was covered with asphalt.
Settlement of the name derives from a military alliance Longobardi Bulgari (Bulgari), founded a castle on a possible arrival of the Byzantine troops from Sardinia. The first time the town is mentioned in the papal bull of 20 November 1075, as the possession of the Gherardesca family and the Bolgheri Castle appears in a document dated 23 January 1158. Castello di Bolgheri has been repeatedly attacked and destroyed: in 1393 Fiorentini was burned, and in 1496 it was turned into a ruin of the emperor Maximilian’s army. The castle began to recover at the beginning of the eighteenth century, when agricultural activities began to develop in this area, the marshy areas were drained and an aqueduct was built that supplied drinking water.
Immortality this town gave Giosuè Carducci poem “Before San Guido” (“In front of San Guido”): “cypresses that in Bolgheri, high and strong paper in two rows that lead to San Guido …”.
This ancient city exudes a special charm. A stone’s throw from the sea, in the heart of the rural landscape, full of vineyards and olive groves, the city, with its exemplary architectural harmony, reminded the medieval castle of red brick, which stands on a small hill, its narrow streets and a lot of wine shops where you should definitely look into.
Castle of Bolgheri (Castle of Bolgheri) Cypress is located at the end of the road on a hill at an altitude of 400 m. The castle was built in the 13th century to the 15th century belonged to the Gherardesca family, then Soderini until 1665, after which it returned to the original owners. In the eighteenth century the structure underwent considerable reconstruction: cellars were built and in 1895 the façade was modified: crenellated towers appeared. Above the building complex is a large tower with a rectangular base and an arch-shaped gate, decorated with bricks. Today the complex is privately owned and can only be visited on July 16th at the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
The Church of Saints James and Christopher (Church of Saints James and Christopher) is located in Bolgheri in Piazza Teresa. This Romanesque church is the oldest architectural monument in the district, it has not been rebuilt in the course of its history.
Its current appearance was given by the restoration of 1902. A large arch separates the baptistery from the church premises to a single nave. On a simple façade there is a portal, surmounted by a lunette containing the coat of arms of the Gerardesca family. The interior is interesting for a complex of murals.
San Guidon Oratorio (Oratory of San Guido) – chapel, a small temple, located on the opposite side of the Cypress Road lock, and made famous by the works of Giosuè Carducci. Oratorio, in terms of having the shape of a hexagon, was built in 1703 by order of the Gherardesca family in memory of their hermit ancestor Guidon (Guido), who lived between 11 and 12 centuries. On the façade there is a single portal, crowned by an eye. The interior is dominated by stone, white marble and stucco.
Next to the oratory is the obelisk in honor of Josue Carducci (1908).
The village itself is like a jewel that adorns a “jeweler” called Tuscany. Thanks to its small size, it is ideal for a short visit to the Tuscan province, but we highly recommend you take your time and calmly consider this wonderful place to fully enjoy the atmosphere.
Bolgheri is an ideal place for a pleasant walk, looking through its shops and the beautiful streets of the village, you can enjoy a good snack or taste the local wines in one of the wine bars.
You will have the opportunity to visit the cellars of the castle of Bolgheri, which has its history since the 12th century. This castle belongs to the descendants of the famous Count of Gerardesca described by the great Dante in his Divine Comedy. The real owners of the castle are the cousins of the wine producers САССКАЙА that you can taste in a nearby wine shop.
The wine from this region was known not so long ago in the late 1980s. But their take-off was so rapid that after about 30 years, they no longer need it.
In the famous Tenuta dell’Ornellaia we are guided by no less famous lanes of cypresses. Also – let’s go along the vineyards, on which stands the old oak, which became a symbol of the economy. The vineyards are divided into two sections: one (41 ha) is located directly around the winery, the second – Bellaria (56 hectares) – to the left of the cypress alley in a medieval village.
In the village there is a delightful atmosphere for a romantic dinner at sunset: at dusk the castle is lit by lanterns that betray this place even more suggestive and gives a special mood for an unforgettable night.
Visiting Bolgheri and taste “wines Supertuscan”, we go to the nearby city of Volterra, with its long history is not inferior to the other big cities of Tuscany. Volterra is considered the domain of unique archaeological sites – scattered through the old town sites with ancient alleys, stairs and columns, which for several centuries supported the sky instead of the ancient, decorated with stucco ceiling trampled. Complete the taste for the surrounding landscapes of the traditional Tuscan hills and valleys, where delicate poppies pass through delicate poppies. But you will find out from our next article on an independent journey through Tuscany.