Scarlino describes itself as a treasure of the Maremma. The city acts as a meeting point between the mountains and the sea, in a verdant landscape deserving of the aforementioned title. Scarlino takes its name from Portus Scabris, a port of the Etruscan era located nearby, however the most romantics believe its name taken from the Latin scara or from the Arabic scaarlin: both terms mean “sentinel” and refer to the strategic coastal position of the city. People have lived in the countryside around Scarlino since the 11th century BC. C., but the inhabited center dates back to the Aldobrandesque era and was founded in 973, when malaria and pirate raids pushed the inhabitants towards the hills. In the 13th century the Republic of Pisa laid the foundations for the dominion of a territory of almost 90 km², which two centuries later would become part of the State of Piombino, governed by the noble Pisan family of Appiani. For 150 years, Scarlino lived in peace, limiting himself to defending himself from attacks from Naples and the Borgia family. Cosimo Medici conquered it under the pretext of protecting the bay from pirates, but was forced to return the city in 1594. Except for a short period of dominion by Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister, Scarlino remained part of the territory of Piombino until the unification of Italy.

Scarlino’s beauty is overwhelming …

Today the city is divided into three parts: the magnificent coastline, where there are some of the most evocative beaches of the Maremma, the beautiful medieval old town and the lush natural parks. Together, they make up a spectacular complex that is a favorite of those on vacation who are also looking for history and culture alongside the seaside resorts.

To be seen

The historic center of Scarlino begins with the impressive Pisan fortress (guided tours on request; 0566 38023, free), built in the fourteenth century as a fortress, used as a cemetery in the nineteenth century and today used as an open-air theater.
Go through the wooden gate to reach the historic center and stop in piazza Belvedere, nicknamed piazzale della Stella, with its splendid view of the Metalliferous Hills and Corsica. Take the small staircase on the right along via della Rocca and reach the Territory Documentation Center (on request; 0566 38546, free), a small museum with a collection spanning 2,000 years, including some fine 13th-century Spanish pottery and a rare set of 15th-century coins known as the Scarlino Treasure.
Continue along via della Rocca to piazza garibaldi, where the town hall is located, a medieval building with original furnishings in multicolored bricks. Next to via Citerni is the Count’s palace: it now houses a bank, but originally there was the curia comitis, the house of the Appiani governing family; its white plaster facade contrasts beautifully with the brick sides. At the very end of the street there is the Church and Convent of San Donato. The history of this church can be traced back to 1188, but it was heavily remodeled in 1929. Outside the yellow brick facade is austere, but inside there is an art collection that spans six centuries. It begins with the showy marble funeral monument dedicated to the Appiani family in 1471. The dark but beautiful Holy Face nearby depicts a crucified Jesus in a thick blue robe. Although the painting is more than 400 years old, the colors of St. Jerome’s bloody knees and the golden detail of Jesus’ tunic are still brilliant. Much of the church’s paintings have been saved from other suppressed churches, including the 15th-century Madonna Nursing the Child with Saint Benedict and Saint Sebastian, which stands out with its simple, almost masculine depiction of the Madonna.

EVENTS

Sagra del Marrone e del Porcino

October

This festival celebrates the most famous typical products of Scarlino, chestnuts and porcini mushrooms, a festival dedicated to good food, with lots of music and fun for everyone.