Rosignano Solvay

Rosignano Marittimo, Italy | C.1914

Photo Credit: Alex Galmeanu

Boasting this deceivingly brilliant shoreline known as Spiagge Bianche or “White Beaches”, Rosignano Solvay is a borough of Rosignano Marrittimo – a town located in Tuscany, Italy known for its views of the Mediterranean coast and the ancient structures found in its countryside.

The name Rosignano Marittimo is believed to have been adopted in 1862 after the family who owned the land at that time, although the earliest written documents discovered in the region date back to 762.

A medieval castle was built around 1100 as a strategic point to counter sieges and disputes. Centuries later, the castle was fortified under rule of the house of Medici. Two limestone guard towers were erected, one as a prison castle and the other used as a terrace for the farm of the Archbishop. Today the castle is home to an archeology museum and the Church of Sant’Ilario, which contains a wooden crucifix from the 1300s.

Nearby, the ancient Etruscan village of Castiglioncello attracts artists and travelers with its beauty and bevy of outdoor excursions. Diving, fishing, sailing and surfing are all enjoyed along the shores – including at the Spiagge Bianche, (seen here) where its attractive, yet toxic, beach is actually made up of 90% limestone and 10% calcium chloride produced by the nearby Solvay company – whose unsightly smoke stacks can be seen from the water’s edge.

In 1914, Solvay, a Belgian chemical company, opened a factory in Rosignano Marittimo due to its proximity to nearby salt mines. Despite the beauty of the Spiagge Bianche, due to the effluence of chemicals from the factory, the beaches are reported to be among the most polluted on the Mediterranean Sea. So you may want to enjoy from afar and instead opt for a dip in one of the nearby non-toxic public pools.

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