Castagneto Carducci is a commune in the south of the province of Livorno (called ‘Leghorn by English-language speakers) on the Tyrrhenian coast of Tuscany. Castagneto takes its name from the Italian for sweet chestnut, which were grown extensively in the area for flour.
Within Castagneto Carducci is the locality (‘frazione’) of Bolgheri whose wines are some of Italy’s most famous. Castagneto Carducci was formerly the fief of and named after the della Gherardesca family whose origins are Lombard (the name Bolgheri derives from their Bulgarian military allies who had a military base here). The family live in Castagneto’s castle which dates to the 11th-century (some of its original surrounding walls remain, around which the town’s streets have been laid out in concentric rings).
In 1907 the town’s name was changed to from Castagneto Marittimo (Maritime Castagneto) to Castagneto Carducci to honour the poet Giosue Carducci (1835-1907), winner of the Nobel prize in 1906 and the greatest Italian poet of the turn of the century. He had stayed here, in what is now Via Carducci in his youth from 1848 to 1849. The avenue of cypresses that inspired Giosue Carducci forms the approach to Bolgheri. The best viewpoint from Castagneto looking across the countryside west towards the Tyrrhenian sea is from Piazzale Belvedere.