Southern Tuscany

What To Know

Maremma in Southern Tuscany is filled with evocative landscapes, each different from the rest: from the oak forests in the inland to the typical Mediterranean scrub to the coast, characterized by white sand beaches and a crystal-clear sea, and, forming the perfect backdrop, a green and dense pine grove. Amongst the most well-known towns, there are Follonica, a favourite for family holidays thanks to the shallow seabed, and Castiglione della Pescaia, chosen by holiday goers looking for a bit of sun and relaxation. There are also many beaches worth visiting, some of which are particularly enjoyable for their scenery: one of these is Cala Violina, near Scarlino, reached via a dense pine grove. The inland areas are the perfect background to the crystal-clear waters of the sea: there’s a wealth of options for visitors who appreciate the traditions and atmospheres of typical Tuscan villages. One of these is Massa Marittima, with its two extraordinary monuments: the Cassero and the cathedral, which stand tall in the stunning piazza. There are also Monterotondo Marittimo, Montieri, Roccastrada and Gavorrano. This area has also been a mining centre since Antiquity, affecting the very landscape and making it stand out. The Etruscans were particularly adept at mining these underground resources, which we know thanks to the ruins of ancient kilns and mines that can be found along the coast of the Gulf of Follonica, in the area around the Metalliferous Hills and, of course, in the archeological area in Vetulonia, one of the 12 most important Etruscan cities. The earth’s resources can be seen everywhere in this area, including at the Colline Metallifere Grossetane National Park, distinguished by UNESCO as a Geopark thanks to the opportunity it provides for visitors to learn more about the history of mining and metallurgy, which have characterized this area for more than 3,000 years. Visitors can also go to the MAGMA in Follonica, a museum dedicated to the art of iron casting in the Maremma. This land is also full of energy, which emerges with all its force in Monterotondo and the Le Biancane Nature Reserve, home to geothermal phenomena like fumaroles, geysers and springs pumping out high-temperature waters. The nature in this area is both rugged and rich, as can be seen in the area’s agricultural production, which is highlighted by the Monteregio Wine Trail, an interesting journey of flavour through farms and vineyards. Southern Maremma is a wild land, where the most unspoilt nature reigns supreme, made up of Mediterranean scrub that inebriates with its various aromas, from the hilltops to the sea. It’s also a coastal land, its crystal-clear waters a metaphor for the purity and authenticity of this area, where the sea lives harmoniously side-by-side with the inland, home to unique villages and a rich history. A single summary of the undisputed charm of this environment is the Maremma Regional Park, 9,000 hectares of untouched nature, where herds are raised in the wild and animals live undisturbed in their habitats. Today, shrubbery and pine forests prevail, and the marshland that’s led to this area being known as “bitter Maremma,” is a fascinating place for birdwatching and fishing, like in Capalbio, home to the beautiful Lago di Burano WWF Oasis, or Orbetello, where eels, a popular part of local cuisine, swim freely. This territory hosts a wealth of attractions from the inland areas all the way to the coast, where high cliffs are alternated with little beaches and coves. An elegant destination in these parts is definitely the Argentario, with its seaside villages, including Porto Stefano, Porto Ercole, Orbetello and Capalbio. In these towns, one can truly get a sense of the area’s strong history of fishing, clear even in the various artisan trades, like axe masters (boat makers), and in traditions like the Palio Marinaro, which takes place on Ferragosto, August 15. The Maremma is so much more than just the seaside though: the opportunities are endless for exploring characteristic villages, starting with the coastal town of Capalbio and Campagnatico, and on to Manciano, home to the famous Saturnia Hot Springs, and Montemerano, considered one of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy. There’s also Magliano, which together with Scansano is known for its vineyards that produce the delicious Morellino DOCG wine. Of course, Grosseto goes without saying, the capital of the region and home to priceless art treasures, like the cathedral, all enclosed in the medieval walls surrounding the historic centre. Today’s visitors aren’t the first to see the beauty in this territory: the Etruscans and Romans chose to settle in this area, leaving us with traces of civilizations that thrived, but which nonetheless remain a mystery to us. The archeological areas in Roselle and Sovana are must-sees, as well the one in Ansedonia, where the ancient city of Cosa was located. The Vie Cave are also interesting to explore, trails carved deep into the rocks, crisscrossing the Città del Tufo Archeological Park. And when it comes to a holiday in Southern Maremma, stretching from the sea to the hilltops, there’s no better place to end your stay than in Pitigliano, a fairy-tale-like village nicknamed “Little Jerusalem” because of the influence of the Jewish community that settled here centuries ago.

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