Follonica, with more than twenty thousand inhabitants, is the second largest city in the province of Grosseto. The city is located on the coast and used to be an important port. Today, (beach) tourism is the main source of income. In the past it was the iron industry.
Follonica travel guide
Tourist office: Via Roma, 49. Opening hours: From 09:00 till 13:00 and from 15:30 till 19:30. Phone: +39 0566 52012.
A brief history of Follonica
Follonica flourished much later than most cities in the province of Grosseto. Although the town existed earlier, its heyday started in the 15th century, when agriculture and the iron industry were developed. It was a fairly important port, but the big leap forward only happened under Leopold II of Lorraine.
The city was originally owned by the Castle of Valle. In the 15th century the medieval castle came into the possession of the aristicratic Appiani family. Under this family, the town experienced a period of prosperity. Agriculture was developed and the first mill was built. In the 16th century the iron industry was also established.
Follonica became one of the most important ports on the Tyrrhenian coast. It was here that the minerals excavated on the island of Elba came ashore. There was also an easy connection from the town to the rich inland. For centuries Follonica was closely tied to the Principality of Piombino.
However, the city itself hardly developed, due to the swampy and unhealthy area it was located in. It was not until the 19th century that it began to resemble a real town.
It is thanks to Leopold II of Lorraine that the area was finally drained. He also made sure that Follonica was chosen as the administrative center of the mines and iron works.
Until 1920 the city was a part of Massa Marittima. After this it became an autonomous municipality.
What to see
The biggest attraction is the San Leopoldo Cathedral, characterized by a wrought-iron pronaos. The former ironworks is now an iron museum (Museo del Ferro). The Castello del Valle is located on a hill outside the city.
Every two years, the Golfo del Sole painting competition is held in the city.
How to get to Follonica by car
The quickest way from Grosseto is to follow the E80 highway. However, the SP158 is more scenic.