Bolgheri is one of a few lesser-known towns on the Tuscan coast. Even in August, the Bolgheri coastline remains empty, less a few gray bearded fisherman and the scattered tourist from Florence.
Travel + Leisure Magazine calls Bolgheri one of “Europe’s Secret Villages,” a hilltop town a short 40-mile drive south of Pisa. And the cyprus-lined Viale dei Cipressi (which leads straight into Bolgheri) is an approach as picturesque as you’d imagine for a village set in the vineyards of southern Tuscany’s celebrated Maremma.
An itinerary in Bolgheri need not include much more than hours to stroll and lounge on the nearby beaches. But a few local restaurants stand out: Rosso e Vino alla Dogana attracts the region’s Euro-set. Take your time over seafood lunches on the patio adjacent to La Dogana beach.
Just five miles southeast of the city center in Bibbona is the Relais Sant’Elena, a fifteen-room estate turned hotel which offers mountain biking, cooking classes, and a short walk to the public WWF Bolgheri beach. A thirty minute drive from Bolgheri is a seaside Relais & Chateaux property called Hotel Cala del Porto. Almost every room boasts a terrace overlooking the Maremma as well as the bay. It is a dichotomy so brilliant I wish I could recreate at home.