Populonia was the only ancient Etruscan city situated on the sea. It was also the biggest centre on the Mediterranean specialized in the smelting of iron from ore extracted on the nearby Island of Elba. It is situated on the top of a hill, with the sea all around. The walls which are of medieval origin were built for defence against the Barbary pirates. Additional fortifications were built in the first half of the 15th century by Iacopo Appiani II and restored in 1800.

Within the walls there is a quaint little village with some elegant shops. From the top of the fortress there is a magnificent view of the Tuscan Archipelago.

In Populonia there is also a privately owned museum in which Etruscan and Roman finds from excavations in the area and from the sea-bed are exhibited. The statue known as the Apollo of Piombino, now in the Louvre in Paris, was found in the waters of the Gulf of Baratti.

Where is Populonia: it is located in the south of Livorno province, in front of the Elba island.

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