At the edge of Lazio, the Maremma is the wildest area of southern Tuscany that Dante already mentioned in his Divine Comedy between Cecina and Corneto, the current Tarquinia. By virtue of its verdant countryside and its small villages almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, it is she who, according to some, would preserve the authentic spirit of Tuscany.
History – even very ancient – has left many traces, from those related to the presence of the Etruscans to those of the government of Aldobrandeschi through the archaeological evidence of Roman rule.
Grosseto, the main city of Maremma, possesses powerful ramparts symbolizing at best the domination of the Medici.
The Maremma is marshlands, pine forests, dunes, scrub-covered hills, brackish plains, oak forests and even a mid-mountain dotted with villages built in the tuff, which provide shelter for an exceptionally rich fauna. A territory apart, which malaria has isolated from the rest of Italy until very recently, and which, therefore, has retained a very endearing personality, very different from the rest of Tuscany.
But the archaeological sites are far from being the only attraction of the Maremma: its strong point lies in fact in the variety of its tourist offer. The complexity of its territory goes hand in hand with a wide range of tourist destinations all having in common an authenticity to discover.
Surrounded by crystal clear sea, Maremma lies along a coastline where the beautiful beaches of the Gulf of Follonica, the seaside resorts of Castiglione della Pescaia and the secret coves of Argentario alternate.
For those who prefer to spend their holidays under the sign of nature, the Natural Park of Maremmais absolutely to see: in fact, its thick woods, its green hills and its lacustrine zones are of great naturalistic interest. What’s more, the Maremma makes it possible to make thermal stays thanks to the sulphurous springs of Saturnia.
Although the Maremma still escapes the traditional tourist flows, it offers a wide range of services and a lively nightlife in localities such as Orbetello, Argentario or Punta Ala, not to mention the traditions and the wine and food itineraries having made Tuscany famous all over the world.
Regional Park of the Marema
Known as Parco dell’Uccellina, the Maremma Regional Park stretches 25 km south of Grosseto, bordering the Tyrrhenian coastline from Princina a Mare to Talamone. Wild beaches, swampy expanses, dunes and pine forests … a paradise for migratory birds, foxes, porcupines and turtles. Nature and cultural heritage represented by the magnificent Genoese and Medici watchtowers.
The Regional Park of Maremma is the first natural park of Tuscany, with 9800 ha protected zona, a wild territory refuge of mammals and birds. But the soul of the Maremma are the butteri, representatives of age-old traditions, ranchers who cross horseback swampy areas guiding their herds of cows with long horns curved throughout the pastures of the coast. We can think of a “wild west” in Tuscany. The butteri are inheritors of an endangered way of life, they speak a very old dialect and try to perpetuate their traditions: you can know their know-how in the municipalities of Maremma.
You can go hiking, horse riding, cycling or canoeing in the Regional Park of Maremma. The hikes you can see the ruins of the Cistercian abbey San Rabano, the channel of Scoglietto-Collelugo, the groette of Caparecce, the cala di Forno (to reach this one, the hike is difficult), the observatory of ornithology, the punta del Corvo, with magnificent views (departure from Talamone), the grotta dello Stoppa.
To take full advantage of nature, choose the south of the region. Start with the delightful little-known medieval town of Massa Marittima and spend a day or two visiting its museums and churches, savoring cafés in the beautiful central square and sampling the cuisine and wine of its typical restaurants. On the third day, explore the Ore Mountains, explore the strange landscape of the “Biancane” geothermal park at Monterotondo Marittimo or explore a fascinating pyrite mine at Parco Minerario Naturalistico Gavorrano .
On the 4th day, visit an archaeological site, the Etruscan tombs and the impressive museum of the ancient city of Vetulonia. From there, follow the sea breeze to the island of Elba, where Venus emerged from the waters, today imitated by thousands of Italians in summer. After spending a few days swimming, cycling and seafood, continue along the coast to the beautiful and wild Parco Regionale della Maremma for walking, canoeing, cycling or riding with the butteri (herdsmen).
On the ninth day, birdwatchers will be sure to visit the Natural Reserve Lago do Burano or the Natural Reserve Laguna di Orbetello, both run by the Italian branch of WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature), while theGiardino dei Tarocchi, a sculpture garden that draws inspiration from tarot cards. Finish your journey inland in the amazing setting of the tufa country (Paese del Tufa), where you will visit Etruscan necropolis, and walk through the enigmatic passages dug in the rock, the cellar life.
It is also here that three enchanting and historically intact cities await you: Pitigliano, where we visit the ghetto that once hosted the largest Jewish community in Italy; Sovana , charming hamlet provided with two beautiful Romanesque churches; and Sorano, famous for its majestic fortress of the eleventh century. To get the most out of the region, hike 8 km from Pitigliano to Sovana, which includes portions of cave living – a unique experience.