Underground chamber tombs carved into the sandstone, Etruscan Necropolis of the Caves, Populonia. They all date back to the Hellenistic period (4th - 2nd century BC).

© Sandro Amato/Shutterstock

Parco Archeologico di Baratti e Populonia

Top choice in Central Coast & Elba

The Etruscan sites on display here are some of Tuscany's finest. Four marked walking trails lead through a vast green park, revealing a ruined town and well-preserved prehistoric tombs. The gigantic circular tumulus tombs in the Necropoli di San Cerbone are among the most impressive and are visited on a one-hour Italian-language guided tour that enters the Tomba dei Carri, which is a whopping 28m in diameter. The Acropolis can be visited on a self-guided 90-minute tour.

A 90-minute Va del Ferro trail explores tumulus tombs and the ruins of ancient buildings.

The two-hour Via delle Cave trail leads through shady woodland to ranks of chamber tombs that have been hacked out of the soft ochre sandstone; ancient quarries are also dotted around. The scenic Via del Monastero trail (2½ hours) breaks off from the Via della Cave trail and continues to the Benedictine Monastery of San Quirico and on towards the Acropoli of Populonia.

The Via della Romanella (Metal Working Trail; 2½ hours) leads to the Etruscan Acropoli di Populonia (settlement of Populonia). Digs here have revealed the foundations of a 2nd-century-BC Etruscan temple; you'll see the remains of Roman temples, the city's central square, some towering terracing and an evocative, roughly paved road.

Bring a sun hat, sun cream and sturdy shoes. Outside summer, the Necropoli are open on weekdays and the entire park is only open on weekends.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Central Coast & Elba attractions

2. Il Chiostro di San Francesco

10.42 MILES

A stroll from the main street, Via Giacomo Matteotti, uphill along Via del Crocifisso, brings you to these cloisters, all that remains of the 13th-century…

3. Rocca Aldobrandesca

10.49 MILES

Suvereto's crowning glory is this part-15th-century rocca (castle), abandoned in the 1600s and slowly being restored. The climb to it up winding village…

5. Forte Stella

15.07 MILES

The salmon-pink Star Fort, so called due to its shape, is one of Portoferraio's defining hilltop forts. It was commissioned by Cosimo l de' Medici and…

8. Forte Falcone

15.19 MILES

Portoferraio's loftiest highest hill is crowned by this largely intact, 16th-century fort (1548) – a key point, together with Fort Stella and Torre del…