Capanna Civinini beach is one of over ninety beautiful Italian beaches in Maremma. Adjoining the stunning line of the coves of Cala Civette, Cala Violina and Cala Martina that all lie within the natural park of the Bandite di Scarlino, Capanna Civinini lies south of the mouth of the River Alma and so within the territory of the Comune of Castiglione della Pescaia.
From here, below a white medieval tower - Torre Civette - the golden sands of this beach sweep south as far as the eye can see all the way to the southern-end of the Golfo di Follonica, ending close to the promontory of the sailing port of Punta Ala. A mainly "public beach", wonderfully wide and very long (kilometres long!), it is ideal for families, walkers, joggers and day dreamers...
Here you can just walk and walk and walk... Or, if you love horses, out of the high summer season or in the mornings/early evenings, Capanna Civinini makes a perfect location for riding one of Maremma's Tuscan horses - the Maremmano.
When I see these magnificent horses on the beach galloping at the edge of the surf, I start to ponder about where the stables are, only to quickly remind myself of my very limited and unsuccessful experience on horseback! But I have no doubt that it is a very special thing to do. I will find out where it is possible locally to organise horse-riding on Maremma's beaches and update this page.
(The photograph was taken on Torre Mozza beach, another of Maremma's beautiful Italian beaches. When I have my camera with me next at Capanna Civinini, I will take a photo or two of the Maremmani horses being ridden there.)
From the sands of Capanna Civinini you can see the whole of the Gulf of Follonica. From its northern-most point at the port of Piombino, to the sea-side holiday town of Follonica and along Capanna Civinini to the Gulf's very final southern point at the rocks of the "Scogli Porchetti" and the small island of Isolotto dello Sparviero (or La Troia as it is sometimes called). And looking out into the Gulf across the Tyrrhenian Sea, there before you is the magnificent and special Isola d'Elba - Island of Elba.
If you choose to have your holiday base within the Bandite di Scarlino, or near Castiglione della Pescaia and Punta Ala, there are some wonderful places to visit all within a short drive. Not to mention many more beautiful Maremma beaches.
The pictures in the slide show were taken in April after a few days of stormy weather. The tractor marks on the sands are from those that have been employed by the owners of the campsites, "bagni" and bar facilities in the "pineta" (pine woods) behind the beach, to clear the storm debris ready for their spring visitors. From now until the end of the summer holiday season, the beach will be kept in pristine condition. Storm debris aside, the beach and waters of Capanna Civinini are, in any event, very clean throughout the year.
Apart from being just a tad too cold for me! it would have been a little precarious to have gone swimming on the first day of sunshine after the storms. Whilst sat on the sands I watched droves of pine tree branches and trunks gently being swept ashore. Far into the horizon, the sea was literally striped blue and brown, with the brown comprising thick drifts of plant material. Some of the trunks, when visible near shore bobbing in and out of the water, resembled sea monsters! And some of my family tried to retrieve them from the water but failed due to their sodden weight (the trunks, not my family!). But it was fun trying.
Other visitors in April were line fishing from shore near the mouth of the River Alma as it enters the Gulf of Follonica here below the medieval Torre Civette. And basking in the sunshine in between catches. There are plenty of fish in these waters, in both the river - you can easily spot them as you walk along the riverbank to reach the beach - and the Gulf.
And a few were walking their dogs, jogging, or just strolling the whole length of the beach, in no hurry to be anywhere...
Out of high summer season, in the early spring or autumn is a wonderful time to visit Maremma and explore her beautiful beaches: there are no crowds or problems with finding a parking space etc, and on weekdays you can have a whole beach to yourselves. Bliss.
Torre Civette access
1. From the centre of the hamlet of Pian d'Alma, at the restaurant "Ristorante Cala Violina" take the single track road signposted "Val Molina - Torre Civette". At its end, just before it curves over a small bridge, is the private (no access) entrance road to the Torre Civette and then, after the bridge, the perfect spot to access the beach.
Take the footpath on the southern side of the river (Fosso Alma Nuovo) and follows its course through the tall grass until its mouth into the sea, which will bring you to the northern most point of Capanna Civinini, below the tower.
Alternatively, the adjacent campsite has now opened its grounds through to its bar and the "spiaggia libera" (public beach area), which most people are now using. Except us! as two in our family like to check-out the fish in the river and have a chat with any fishermen that might be on its banks before arriving at the beach!
2. Or, from the crossroads with the SS158 at Pian d'Alma take the road to Punta Ala. Turn right into the first entrance you come to for a campsite and camping village. It looks as though it is a private entrance, but is in fact an unkept road that passes the entrances of two campsites. Follow this road to the base of Torre Civette. (Be aware that the road is normally in a very poor state.)
From Punta Ala
3. Drive further along the road to Punta Ala and either park in the woods opposite the beach and access the beach through the pineta, or further along from the holiday residential area of Punta Ala itself. See below.
2015 UPDATE for the Torre Civette end of Capanna Civinini.
In 2015, access to the car park adjacent to the beach front campsite car park that everyone had used for a couple of years was closed, permanently. And ground alongside the single track road was cleared by the Comune di Scarlino to form a - free - public car park (it isn't tarmacked). Which for all intents and purposes would be fine except that this new car park is a kilometre walk along that lane to the start of the footpath alongside the river to the beach.
Try that with babes and parasols etc in arms! Especially as the lane is now flanked on both sides by lines of wooden poles to prevent people from parking, but which at he same time makes passing another car impossible without backing-up to a space wide enough, hazardous for cyclists when there is traffic, and requires anyone with a pushchair or young children etc to go off road onto the verge in between passing cars.
I asked the local municipal police women what the logic was, and they replied that it was the only land available and in any event the car park has been packed full in the summer. And there is good reason for that. For there is only one other possibility and that is a space - also established by the Comune di Scarlino - for two, three at most small cars parked tightly together, much further down the lane near the private drive to the tower. Park anywhere else and you risk a fine. And the Polizia Municipale are attentive: we were there last on a late afternoon in mid-September and they were doing their rounds.
Another thing: there aren't any barriers to prevent you doing so (at the moment), but access to the new car park is not permitted between the hours of 21:00 and 06:00. So no good for night fishermen or dinners on the beach.
TIP: If it is off season and there isn't much going on, you could drive up to the entrance of the campsite and pop in to ask at reception if they would mind you using their car park. Don't all do it! But if you have young children, they sometimes are conducive to saying yes :) Their car park is the one lined with all the yellow "Minnions"!
As you drive towards Punta Ala from the crossroads at Pian d'Alma and before you reach the sign for Punta Ala there is one car park in the woods on your left (on the opposite side of the road to the beach). It is very easy to miss the entrance and it is very busy in the summer.
Otherwise your options are a couple - literally - of spaces along the roadside opposite a "bagno", just after the sign for Punta Ala (but don't take my space!). Parking anywhere else along this road is impossible as the roadside strip is very narrow and there are deep ditches on either side. If you find a spot, just check it isn't privately owned and check for old metal poles inserted into the ground before you park!
Alternatively, if you are thinking of visiting a bagno here for the day etc, they offer parking.
Or there is Punta Ala itself.
Unless you are staying in or will be visiting one of the two campsites located in the "pineta" behind the northern part of Capanna Civinini, there are no other bar or refreshment options. So bring a picnic!
At the northern end of the beach - see access via Torre Civette - there is now a beach bar open to all. You will find the Punta Ala Sailing School next door.
Further south, a little beyond mid-way along the length of the beach as you enter the jurisdiction of Punta Ala, you will find various "bagni" - beach facilities with sun loungers etc - that have bars and restaurants.
Explore some more...