top of page

Bolgheri the Avenue

The Avenue

"I cipressi che a Bolgheri alti e schietti Van da San Guido in duplice filar, Quasi in corsa giganti giovinetti, Mi balzarono incontro e mi guardar." This is the beginning of the poem “Davanti a San Guido” published in the collection of poetry entitled Rime Nuove by poet and writer Giosuè Carducci, the first Italian author to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1906. A scenic straight avenue, about 5 kilometers long bordered by majestic cypress trees, leads straight to the medieval town of Bolgheri. The street name is Provincial Road 16D and it connects the Oratory of San Guido, located on the old Via Aurelia, to the magnificent Castle of Bolgheri that dominates the entrance into the charming historic center. Guidalberto Della Gherardesca, who lived in the early 19th century, is famous for having planted the famous Cypress Avenue, that today is a national monument.

He was also a pioneer implementing modern agricultural practices in the area and introducing innovations in viticulture. His ideas were ahead of his time as he realized numerous land reclamation projects.

Presently, Cypress Avenue is 4,962 meters long with 2,540 cypress trees. Its history is truly unique. In 1841, the reconstruction of Via Pisana (also known as Via Regia) was completed all the way to Grosseto. Many perpendicular streets were subsequently built to connect Via Pisana to all the small inland towns and villages; one of these was the avenue at San Guido. After road reconstruction was completed; new roadbed was laid down and lateral drainage ditches were added. Guidalberto decided to create a more pleasant environment along Via Pisana and San Guido Avenue with ornamental plants best adapted to marshy areas, confident that the city of Castagneto would be responsible for their future maintenance. He chose a species that wasn’t a true cypress tree but were poplars shaped like cypresses and proceeded to plant them on Via Pisana and the first section of San Guido avenue. Unfortunately, local water buffalo herds found these tender young plants delicious. The trees were finally able to grow only when farmers decided to confine these free-roaming water buffaloes into enclosed pastures.

The first stretch of the avenue, from Via Pisana to the large farmhouse called San Guido, was planted with real cypress trees that were not devoured by the animals. The results were promising, even if cypress trees tend to thrive in drier hillside climates, and this encouraged the Della Gherardesca family to continue their planting program creating Bolgheri’s Cypress Avenue. The first cypress trees were brought to the area on a small ship that docked at San Vincenzo and were then transported to San Guido by carts. Later, the trees were brought in from Florence, Pisa, Ripafratta and, consideration was given to setting up special nurseries. Italian poet Giosuè Carducci wrote about Bolgheri in his poem “Davanti a San Guido” (Before San Guido) in which he praised the majestic tree-lined avenue: Tall stately cypresses in a double row troop from San Guido down to Bolgheri. However, when the poet lived in Bolgheri, between 1838 and 1848, a portion of the street (from San Guido to Le Capanne) had not yet been fully planted. It was only after the poem’s success that Count Ugolino Della Gherardesca was inspired to replace the imposing centuries-old olive trees that lined a section of the road between Le Capanne and Bolgheri with trees fulfilling Giosuè Carducci’s vision of the suggestive Cypress tree-lined avenue that he narrated in his verses of Davanti San Guido.


497 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

October in Tuscany

Anticipation is building as we count down the days to our upcoming adventure. October holds a significant milestone for my brother, and it didn't take much persuasion to convince him to embark on a jo



Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page