Castagneto Carducci was listed in first place for Tuscany and third worldwide in the rankings for the most liveable tourist locations. In 2009, for the fifteenth time, it received the Blue Flag, an acknowledgement granted by the EEC to beach locations with the most efficient services and the cleanest sea.
Even if the territory is strewn with Etruscan and Roman finds, the name Castagneto appears for the first time in an act of donation of goods by Walfredo di Ratcauso to the monastery of San Pietro in Monteverdi, drawn up on 6 July 754 AD.
The place name comes from “castanea” and is clearly linked to the many chestnut trees present in the area. These chestnut trees, however, which have been almost completely replaced by vines and olives, were mainly used as timber for charcoal and iron furnaces, and chestnuts were used very little for food in the area, unlike in other parts of Tuscany such as Monte Amiata or Mugello.
The extent of the municipal territory named Castagneto is not known, nor is it known how it reappeared centuries later as part of the properties of the Della Gherardesca family, the Counts of Donoratico, against whom the local inhabitants were always struggling in order to enjoy their rights of common. A ruling in 1778 awarded the property of the territory to the counts and the rights of common to the inhabitants of Castagneto; the local inhabitants were only granted land ownership for the first time in 1788. However, the disputes continued over the following decades until a revolt broke out in the mid-19th century that convinced Grand Duke Leopold II to grant the “preselle” (parcels of land) to the inhabitants of Castagneto. As for the layout of the town, the houses of Castagneto first extended towards the outskirts of the village, and then to the lower areas (Orti, Fontanella, Costa ai Mandorli, Casina and Biancuccio). The entire area was initially called “la terra gherardesca” (Gherardesca land) or “la gherardesca” for short, which, however, included small villages (Bolgheri, Donoratico and Castagneto) that Florence had established as independent municipalities in 1406. The town was renamed “Castagneto Marittimo” in 1861, but when Giosuè Carducci died in 1907, the municipal council ruled to change its name to Castagneto Carducci. In 1926 the town became part of the province of Livorno and separated from that of Pisa.