A little medieval village perched on the Piombino promontory looking out over the small but picturesque bay of the Gulf of Baratti. It was founded by the Etruscans and was subsequently conquered by the Romans. Ancient Popluna flourished as one of the main ports of the region and as an important iron smelting center.
The iron was minded on the nearby island of Elba. The crest of the hill on which Populonia sits today was the Acropolis of the ancient town protected by walls, considerable remains of which are still extant. The industrial and naval sections of the town were spread out over the lower slopes of the hill and seafront.
During the Middle Ages, invasions and pillaging troops caused the town’s decline and it only regained stature when it was reconstructed in the 14th century by Sienese. All around the gulf of Baratti lies the Etruscan Acropolis that was unearthed in the early 1900s after having been concealed for centuries under the smelting works rubble that had been unloaded and strewn all along the coast.
The Seventh to Second century tombs differ as regards type, according to the period in which they were made. The most ancient is the trench type, followed by the chamber type, followed in a more recent era by the tumulus type tunes with pseudo-doom roofs, followed later steel by aedicule or cassone tombs, the most well-known being the Flabella tomb, the tomb of the Chariots, the tomb of the Attic Vases, the tomb of the Funeral Couches and the Aedicule tomb. The most remarkable archaeological finds from the acropolis are preserved in the archaeological museum in Florence, but the material in the small local museum is interesting too.
Beyond the promontory on which Populonia is situated one enters Piombino.