The Archaeological Park of Baratti and PopuloniaPiombino (Li)
Stretching over 80 hectares between the slopes of the promontory of Piombino and the Gulf of Baratti, it is presented as a real open-air museum, glittering with ferrous slag which show the impressiveness of the industrial Etruscan village. The Park includes a significant part of the ancient town of Populonia, a unique Etruscan settlement built directly on the sea, with its necropolises, the calcarenite quarries and the industrial working quarters for iron coming from the hematite deposits on the Island of Elba. The park is spread over various areas of visit which enable the visitor to appreciate the transformation of the scenery over the centuries
The wooded coast of the promontory overlooks the archipelago: since days of old the dark silhouettes of the islands including Elba and Corsica have constituted the picturesque scenes of a landscape of land and water. Indeed, up until the modern reclamations, the plain extending to the internal of the promontory of Piombino was a series of lakes and lagunas, rich with fish and swamp vegetation.
This was the landscape of the 8th-9th Century B.C., when important houses were built on the Acropolis to accommodate the most ancient aristocracies of Populonia. From these houses there remains faint and picturesque traces on the summit of the acropolis, not distant from the monumental structures of another Populonia, the Roman one which around the 2nd Century B.C. built important temples, thermal spas and sanctuaries right in the heart of the city. A network of itineraries joins up the city of the houses and temples to the industrial city and the necropolises which lie on the first hills surrounding the inlet. As in ancient times, the routes follow the original roads, crossing the woods and the Mediterranean scrub and opening up to unexpected views alternating over the Gulf of Baratti or the open sea and the Island of Elba.
One of these routes leads to another landscape, that of Medieval times. Among the woods of the promontory, the remains of the Benedictine monastery of San Quirico tell of a lost city and a renewed interest for the natural resources and minerals of the region.
It is a natural area Protected by Local Interest (L.R.49/1995).