Resource Guide to Traveling and Visiting Tuscany



 


TRAVELPIXEL - start your journey here!


Home     Contact    Links
Maremma

Maremma of Grosseto extends along the whole Tyrrhenian coast of the Grosseto province, coming up from the sea until the declivities and the woods of Mount Amiata. At the same time wild and welcoming, Maremma is today known for the fascination of its beaches, for the green of its pinewoods and bushes, for its antique and attractive villages… Its name evokes boundless ranges of olive groves and vineyards, the warmth of thermal waters, the pleasure of good food, wonderful landscapes, daybreaks and sunsets which are not to be missed.

Maremma is nowadays no more an unhealthy and marshy district, but its long isolation has anyway preserved it, making it a unique place, where nature and culture, present and past merge together. Maremma is a very large land, a big stage where atmospheres, lights, landscapes and flavours take turns. You can visit the Maremma of the Metalliferous Hills with their green spaces, the Maremma of the medieval fortified villages, like the well-known Massa Marittima, the Maremma of towns like Follonica and Grosseto. You can visit the wild side of Maremma at the mouth of river Ombrone and in the Maremma Park, where nature rules and the butteri (the famous Maremma cowherds) from time immemorial follow herds of horses and cattle, left to the pasture in the wild state.

You can also visit the Maremma of Etruscans, with Roselle and Vetulonia, the Maremma of tuff, with Pitigliano, Sorano and Sovana, the Maremma of Romans, with the rests of the ancient Cosa. Finally, if you want to find the sea in Maremma, you can visit Marina di Grosseto, well-known for its beaches and pinewoods, while if you're looking for the mountain, just visit Mount Argentario and the volcanic massif of Mount Amiata.

In conclusion, Maremma is from north to south an incomparable land, which deeply impresses anyone who visits it.


The Sea 

The maremma coast is one of the most important ones not only in the Tyrrhenian see, but probably also in Italy. Watching it from above, in fact, you can notice the way large beaches and hidden small coves, thick pinewoods and Mediterranean woods take turns. The sea at the south of Tuscany offers to the tourist one of the most beautiful spectacles in the world, thanks to its clear waters, its diversified fauna and its still uncontaminated ecosystem. In fact this zone, particularly Marina di Grosseto, has been obtaining for years the acknowledgment "Bandiera Blu d'Europa" (European Blue Flag). Right from this sea, then, the seven pearls of the Tuscan archipelago, that is, the seven islands that constitute it, come to the surface: Elba, Giglio, Capraia, Montecristo, Pianosa, Giannutri and Gorgona. Tourists who come to visit Maremma will find plenty to choose from: enjoying the sun on the sandy beaches until the pinewood's boundaries or preferring the rocks, ripped by the waves. If you love the sea, you can enjoy both the large number of bathing establishments and the several public beaches.

There are also many hidden coves, which are often reachable only by boat; they offer to the visitors natural spectacles and sunsets of exceptional beauty. From the north: Cala Martina, Cala Violina, Cala di Forno (inside Parco della Maremma), Acqua Dolce, the Cantoniera, the Spiaggia Lunga and the Sanità…
Coasts in Maremma are rich of places which are well-known in the whole world thanks to their uniqueness: Follonica, with its modern inhabited centre and its well-equipped bathing establishments; the wonderful medieval village Castiglione della Pescaia with its Aragonese fortress and the fishermen harbour; Marina di Grosseto and Principina with their very large beaches and pinewoods; Talamone, an ancient Etruscan port, today a pretty village of fishermen situated on a small promontory and dominated by an ancient Sienese stronghold; Orbetello, chief town of the Presidi State, today surrounded by the lagoon having the same name of the village self; Porto Ercole with its village and its Spanish strongholds; Porto Santo Stefano, a small village, today one of the "pearls" of Mount Argentario; Capalbio,with its 12 km of wonderful beaches, where a large number of Italian Vips regularly go on holiday.


The Nature

Maremma is plunged into the green heart of Tuscany. In this really special land landscape contrasts take turns; marsh and mountain, hill and sea merge with big harmony, giving birth to exceptionally beautiful landscapes.

Once upon a time Maremma was scattered with marshy and unhealthy areas, which were then reclaimed by Leopoldo II of Lorena; today is Maremma a large area, which gives to its visitors the many-sided appeal of its landcapes, the green of its pinewoods, the wonderful multi-coloured spots of the Mediterranean scrub and the delightful atmospheres of its medieval villages.

Maremma stands out also thanks to its many protected naturalistic areas; these ones let us know the land's realities and its faunistic and botanic varieties. Among these areas we mention the "Parco Naturale della Maremma" (Maremma Natural Park), the first Natural Park in Tuscany and one of the first ones in Italy (it dates back to 1975), the Natural WWF Reservation in the area of the Burano lake, the Montioni Park and the Amiata Faunistic Park. These areas cover altogether almost 40000 hectares of nature reservations, which make Maremma's faunistic property one of the most important in Italy.
Folklore

Maremma is well-known for its inhabitants' affection to the land and to traditions. For this reason many food-and-wine feasts and festivals, folkloric celebrations, historical performances and commemorations are every year organized in the Maremma communes.
Among the most important folkloric celebrations, the following ones deserve a special mention; the "Raduno dei Maggerini", a singing review contemplating begging songs, extemporary rhymes and classical songs of the rural tradition; the "Balestro del Grifalco", a feast of medieval origins, which takes place twice a year in Massa Marittima; the "Carriere del 19" in Scarlino, that is the celebration of an anniversary (19/08/1855, the end of a cholera epidemic and of a nightmare for the inhabitants of the village); the "Palio Marinaro"in Porto Santo Stefano and Castiglione della Pescaia; the "Palio" of Castel del Piano; the "Merca" of the cattle, which takes place in several Maremma villages, where the butteri (the famous Maremma cowherds) give proof of their competence and skill in branding the wild cattle and in breaking in ponies; the "Torneo della Rosa" (Rose's tournament), a competition among the most skilled butteri which takes place in the Uccellina Natural Park.



Culture

The history of Maremma has been deeply influenced by the populations who have inhabited it. Starting from the Etruscan time, when the Etruscan exploited the land's mineral resources, Maremma has become an important area in the whole Mediterranean sea.

The arrival of the Romans coincided with the decay of Etruscan civilization and with an abandonment of this land, considered just as a passage way or as a holiday place for nobles and rich Roman families. The barbarian invasions made their contribution to increase the land's abandonment condition. Thanks to the Aldobrandeschi family the tide finally turned for Maremma.

Then came the Sienese, who built stately defensive works and deprived the Aldobrandeschi family of power.
After the Sienese came the Medici family, whose belongers completed the urbanisation works. Finally Leopoldo II of Lorena reclaimed the land, which had been until that moment scattered with marshy and unhealthy areas, also infested by malaria.
To sum up, thanks to the culture and to the knowledges of the populations and of the big civilizations who inhabited Maremma, you can find in this land several places of archeological, monumental and artistic interest that make the cultural heritage of Tuscany one of the most important ones in Italy.
Among the historic buildings the Massa Marittima Cathedral stands out; it has been built between the XIIIth and the XIVth century, the greatest example of religious architecture in Maremma and one of the most important ones in Tuscany. Very worthy are also the Cathedrals in Grosseto and Sovana, the churches in Montemerano and Montepescali, the parish churches in Campagnatico and Arcidosso.

Roselle, well-known for its archeological excavations, and Vetulonia, famous for its Etruscan barrow tombs, represent just some of the extraordinary rests that the Etruscan civilization has handed down to us. Fortresses, strongholds and castles such as the ones in Scarlino, Vetulonia, Manciano are instead the evidence of that Middle Ages ruled for centuries by the Aldobrandeschi family, whereas the fortresses and the very evocative buildings created by the Medici and the Lorena families had rather the purpose to protect the nature that hosted them, than to dominate it. From north to south, from the town to the village, every piece of Maremma offers to its visitor, in a foreshortening of landscape, the solemn spectacle of castles, fortresses, strongholds, ancient cathedrals, archeological finds, monasteries, abbeys, all of them being a still alive evidence of a great past.