Cala Terra Rossa 2 - the red earth cove number 2 - is the second of two rocky coves along the route to the much more well known rocky shore of Cala Martina and the magical golden sands of Cala Violina. The cove isn't what most people would describe as a pretty beach: there isn't a palm tree or a stretch of white sand in sight. So why would you visit this particular "ugly sister" when there is a truely beautiful sandy cove - the best beach in Italy - beckoning further along the Maremma coastline?
Well, Cala Terra Rossa is only a short stretch along the lovely trekking and cycling coastal path to Cala Martina and Cala Violina, so if you have just finished a large fish lunch in the nearby restaurant Ristorante Il Cantuccio and your feet don't feel like taking you the full 2.0 km or 3.8 km respectiely, you can still dip your toes in the sea and say you walked off ;) some of that lunch.
And at the same time, experience a Maremma cove in which the thick Mediterranean macchia and woodlands - in this case of the Bandite di Scarlino reserve, for these beaches belong to the lovely castled medieval hill town of Scarlino - reaches all the way down to the shore.
And, more than probably, have the whole cove to yourself all day.
Which is why, presumeably, although it is strictly forbidden on all of Maremma's beaches to light fires, here on the shore they do. (I just wish those same people would have the patience to wait until their barbecue fire dies out completely before leaving, or quicker and 100% effective, put it out with a bucket of seawater... ) Those who do don't even have to take their herbs with them as bushes of rosemary and others grow freely behind the shore.
There is one very small patch of large-grained sand - to the right in the middle of this photograph - that doesn't warrant lugging a bucket and spade with you if you plan on visiting, but it might just keep little hands occupied for a while.
A note from my daughter for those with little hands: some of the pebbles are soft enough to be used as "crayons". You might even find a few of our pebble designs still on the beach!
There's a good view from the shore of the seaside town of Follonica and the "pineta" (pine wood) that runs south from the town across the border into Comune di Scarlino territory and the beaches of La Polviera and Puntone di Scarlino.
Unfortunately, you will find a few mosquitos on the beach even towards the end of March and, given that you will probably be the only red blooded animals there - the wild boar living in the woods will wait until you have gone home before they have their evening root along the shore! - they will make a B-line for you. So take your mosquito repellent with you if you are visiting in the late spring or summer as their number will have increased: the mosquitos that is, not the wild boar!
Cala Terra Rossa 1 can be found beneath a now closed pyrite mine, a "mineraria", where you can get wed!
Although the main coastal path is disabled access friendly (it used to be a road), the three tracks through the woods to reach the cove is definitely not. In fact, the latter parts of each track are really rainwater erosion gullys down to the shore. The first that you will come across has a deep drop at its end point (see phot below). The second is somewhat easier going, especially since someone has tied a short length of string between two tree trunks to help you keep your footing in the last part. But whether the tree trunk or string will be in place when you visit will be dependent upon what the next storm waters take down to the shore.
The third access path - further along in the woods - is more than likely the Comune di Scarlino's intended route for visitors but, given its overgrown nature, it is clear that most have favoured gaining access sooner rather than later through the woods and their paths are now those taken by most.
NB The paths down to both Cala Martina and Cala Violina are, in part, (earth and wooden support) stepped at their most difficult. But here again, disabled access isn't possible from the coastal path down.
See the Maremma beaches map - link at the bottom of the page - for the location of the beach and satellite view.
Parking at the very end of the road is privately owned by the restaurant, Ristorante Il Cantuccio. It is a dead-end (the coastal road used to continue from her, but now there is a full barrier), and can get congested. Your best bet is along the roadside (if it isn't high summer or a Bank Holiday), or at the beginning of the hill closer to the Marina di Scarlino and walk up.
Even Cala Terra Rossa gets "busy" (a couple of families/groups of friends) on Bank Holidays. So if you want it to yourself, go the day before or the day after. Another good reason to do so, is that, although not normally the case, the woods on route to the cove and the beach itself will - OK, how do I put this politely? - show signs off having been used as a makeshift toilet. At least they did at Easter when these photographs of Cala Terra Rossa were taken.
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