- San Vincenzo
baratti and populonia park
Baratti and Populonia are important archaeological sites. Populonia or Fufluna, (the ancient Etruscan name of Populonia), is one of the richest archaeological sites. It is divided in two parts: the upper town and lower town. In the first one we can find the acropolis, built in a high position in order to have a suitable defence. In the lower town there are the harbour and the iron industries, which give us a lot of information about the culture and the way of living of the ancient people. This area is called Poggio alla Porcareccia and is bordered by a brief paved street. In the site you can still see the walls and the great S. Caterina well. Baratti and Populonia stretch for around 80 hectares, where it is possible to visit the ancient buildings used for the heavy metal extraction. Along the street Via del Ferro (iron street) there are also the buildings used for the metal working. On the street Via delle Cave we can visit the necropolis of the caves, (Necropoli delle Cave) which offers us a wide example of the Etruscan funeral architecture, such as the characteristic vaults or dome tombs that gave us interesting news about the Etruscan daily life and history. The history of Populonia dates back to 1300. The 15th century fortress, built to defend the other buildings, has been unchanged for centuries. In the last years, the archaeological digs in the gulf of Baratti have been extended on the sea area. The underwater archaeology has enabled us to discover the ancient traders’ courses who sailed the Tyrrhenian Sea to Baratti gulf in order to reach the only Etruscan village on the sea: Populonia. The interest for this stretch of sea was born in the '80s when a fisherman found a silver amphora in his net. In the last year, many searches between Baratti and Elba island have brought to light pots and amphoras, coming from Roman merchant ships. The famous wreckage of Pozzino was a great discovery for the archaeologists who found inside important finds to know the ancient people’s usage and custom. The boats, sailing from east to west, carried mainly wines, oils and objects also portrayed in the paintings of the Etruscan funeral rooms. Unfortunately the popularity of underwater sports is creating problems for the cultural heritage preservation authority; every time a sportsman exploring the sea beds full of treasures takes pieces of amphoras and pots as a keepsake, he damages the area’s cultural heritage.