CASTIGLIONCELLO BLUE FLAG
Beach holidays, of Blue Flag beaches and coasts
THE SEA AND THE CLIFF
The Cecina area has been settled since the Iron Age: many archaeological finds bear witness to considerable industry at that time, when the course of the river was studded with a large number of stonecutting workshops.
The Cecina Valley’s coastal plain turned into a hub of activity at the height of the Etruscan civilisation’s development (between the 7th and 5th centuries BC), when organised communities settled there and prospered on trade with Cyprus, Phoenicia, Egypt and Greece, as is borne out today by the many burial grounds located in the Cecina, Casale Marittimo, Montescudaio and Bibbona areas.
The 18th-century Villa della Cinquantina, which hosts the Etrusco-Roman Museum, is of particular interest. International tourism developed on the coastal strip in the sixties, a period that saw the building of modern, comfortably appointed hotels, restaurants where the area’s fish and seafood specialities may be sampled, bathing establishments and campsites that contribute to the local economy.
Cecina’s famous state-owned pine forest, which Grand Duke Leopold of Tuscany had planted to shelter the crops grown in its lee against the salt spray, extends for 15 km along the Etruscan Coast, creating a striking landscape.
The Blue Flags were awarded by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), in conjunction with the COBAT, to seaside towns and tourist harbours. Tuscany came out top in Italy, with 18 Blue Flag towns. The FEE’s intention when awarding the Blue Flags is to reward the local authorities that have worked hardest to improve the state of the environment, promoting sustainable tourism. The factors taken into account in the assessment were: the bathing water figures; the existence and efficiency of sewage treatment stations; waste disposal, with particular reference to pre-sorted collection and hazardous waste management; the environmental initiatives sponsored by the local authorities; street furniture and beach maintenance; unlimited beach accessibility for all users and, last but not least, support for environmental education programmes targeting schools, tourists and the local public, including the organisation of conferences, exhibitions and courses on environment-related subjects.