Tuscan Maremma

Maremma is a large area of Tuscany that extends as far as Lazio  so that it is only 1.5 hours from Rome and 3hours from Florence. Dante in  the Divine Comedy identified the boundaries between “Cecina and Corneto” (the current Tarquinia). A unique feature of Maremma is  the variety of its territory: crystal clear, long beaches or impervious rocks, mountains covered with dense woods, lake and flat areas, green cultivated hills and natural thermal areas. A timeless area, rooted in ancient civilizations. Here, in fact, the Etruscans before and the Romans later prospered for centuries leaving important testimonies, as shown by the Etruscan cities of Populonia  and  Roselle or the Necropolis of Tarquinia and Vulci and the Roman cities of Cosa (Ansedonia). Then came the  Aldobrandeschi who ruled in the dark centuries of the Middle Ages leaving tall towers, castles and  fortified villages  such  as Santa Fiora  and  Sovana. The Spaniards, with the State of the Presidios,  who in the 15th and 16th centuries dominated some coastal areas (Silver coast), called it marisma,amarshy land, photographing the uncomfortable environmental conditions of the time. Even the  Medici  before, and the Lorraine afterwards, lived in these lands, as the mighty Medici walls of Grosseto remind us. In fact, it was the Medici who began the reclamation of the Maremma, which ended only after the Second World War, handing us the magnificent plain of Grosseto as we see it today with to the north the ancient copper and iron quarries,the famous  Metalliferous Hills; to  the south along the hills of the fiora  andalbegna  the  Region of the tuffs until you reach Tarquinia in the so-called  Maremma Laziale. There  is also the Maremma on the sea, with the splendid Tyrrhenian coast, the Etruscan Coast,the wonderful islands of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park and the  Silver Coast,with the promontory  of Monte Argentario,which since ancient times has attracted large peoples of navigators, such as Phoenicians, Etruscans, Romans and Spaniards and that of the mountain, with the Mount Amiata massif, formed by volcanic eruptions that began three hundred thousand years ago. But above all there is another Maremma, the most intimate, deep and silent, which remains imprinted on those who travel without too much care, observing with respect this land sorich in environmental and historical values, extraordinary testimony of the ancient relationship, sometimes difficult but always fascinating, between man and nature.

Etruscan coast

The Etruscan Coast called the Alta Maremma is a vast stretch of Tuscan coast in front of the Tyrrhenian Sea that starts from Livorno and extends to the promontory of Piombino for over 90 kilometers. It owes its name to the massive presence of the Etruscans who lived there since the 9th century  BC. The presence of this ancient people is confirmed by the numerous settlements still present in many places of the Maremma, but above all in the Archaeological Park of Baratti and Populonia,located between Piombino and the Gulf of Baratti, where resided the Etruscan city of Populonia, one of the twelve city-states of the Etruscan Dodecapolis together with  Roselle,  Vulci, Tarquinia. Among the most  interesting are  Bolgheri,Castagneto Carducci and Suvereto.

Silver coast

The Silver Coast is one of the most beautiful coastal stretches in Tuscany and Italy, located in the southern part of the Maremma between the lagoon of Orbetello and Montalto di Castro. The area extends for about sixty kilometers in the stretch of coast between Talamone (Maremma Regional NaturalPark)  and  Pescia Romana  (Lake Burano) and is  characterized by the promontory of Monte Argentario. An ancient island of the Mediterranean, Monte Argentario, welded to the mainland by two sandy cordons called Tomboli di Giannella and Feniglia  that enclose inside the Lagoon of Orbetello, stands in front of the Island of Giglio and the island of  Giannutri  and culminates with the 653 meters of Punta Telegrafo. All around the Argentario is a succession of enchanting beaches, cliffs, precipices, caves, ancient watchtowers and imposing fortresses, built by the Spaniards in the 1500s to defend the State of the Presidios,which allowed (due to their particular strategic position) the control of vast territories and maritime traffic. Along the coast, next to sunny expanses of fine beach, there are thick and bright pine forests, interspersed with precious wetlands, refuges for numerous species of migratory birds and plant associations, protected and managed by the WWF:  Oasis of Protection of the Lagoon of Ponente di Orbetello and Nature Reserve of Lake Burano. Coastal lake, that of Burano, still saved from cover-up thanks to the so-called Etruscan Tagliata, an admirable engineering work that was to preserve the ancient port of the city of Cosa (Roman colony founded in 273 bc.C.), located at the of the promontory of  Ansedonia, ensuringthe constant flow and ebb of water.

 

In the sea between giglio and the coast of the Uccellina Park emerges an archipelago of rocks, the Formiche (Ants) of Grosseto. They are three uninhabited limestone islets, included in the Tuscan Archipelago: Formica Grande, Formica Piccola e Formica III. On Formica Grande, surrounded by dangerous dry, there is an automatic beacon.

Tufi region

Thus defined, the Tufo Area is a mysterious territory of great charm,  rich in tuff rocks on which rise ancient villages, medieval fortifications and centers of Etruscan origin:  Sovana, Sorano and Pitigliano. Tuff – very crumbly magmatic rock – has characterized the territorial context favoring human settlements for its ease of manipulation. In fact, houses, monumental necropolis and singular roads have been excavated since ancient times, such as the hollow streets that connect the various settlements and necropolises in the area between Sovana, Sorano and Pitigliano. These streets, also called  etruscan cut,are long corridors of one kilometer and three meters wide, with walls also twenty high, probably traced by the Etruscans as a defense system against possible invaders and to connect the inhabited centers with the waterways. Only in  Pitigliano, one of the most evocative villages of the place, called the Little Jerusalem for the large Jewish community, there are eight of these  grandiose  routes. Finally, do not miss the  Archaeological Park Città del Tufo in Sorano where you can admire the splendid Etruscan necropolis of Sovana.

Metalliferous Hills

The area of the  Metalliferous Hills, characterized by forests, woodsand densescrub, is located north of the Piana di  Grosseto, in  a vast area rich, since ancient times, of mineral deposits of iron, copper, lead and silver. At present they are disused or abandoned (the main ones are located in Campiglia Marittima, Gavorrano, Massa Marittima, Montieri and Boccheggiano), but traces of the past still remain: from the Etruscan tunnels to the landfills of sterile material of medieval times up to the high contemporary metal structures, classified as testimonies of industrial archeology. Mining is also linked to the abundance of vegetation, therefore, of timber, which is essential both to arm the tunnels of the mines and to feed the furnaces for the melting of metals. As a demonstration of the importance and uniqueness of the area in 2010, the Park of the Metalliferous Hills was included in the Network of European  Geoparks (European and Global Geoparks Network) under the name of Tuscan Mining Geopark  (Geoparco delle Colline Metallifere),obtaining the prestigious recognition from UNESCO.

 

The Metalliferous Hills of the Tuscan Maremma (Livornese and Grossetana)  include the municipal territories of  Sassetta, Campiglia Marittima, Suvereto, Gavorrano,  Massa Marittima,Monterotondo Marittimo, Montieri, Roccastrada, Scarlino and the northern part of the municipality of  Castiglione della Pescaia. Also part of it, due to the identical geological characteristics, is the hill massif  of Poggio Ballone,and therefore the entire pedecollinare area that, divided by the remaining hilly territory by the Pecora river, opens to the Gulf of Follonica.

Mount Amiata

Monte Amiata we mean the mountain group of volcanic origin that rises between the Val d’Orcia and the eastern Maremma famous for the cinnabar mines from which mercury was extracted and for the numerous natural reserves present among which the most important is the Monte Amiata wildlife park where animals such as wolves, fallow deer, red deer, roe deer, mouflons and chamois live. Today it is an important winter ski and summer holiday center, with fifteen ski lifts as well as a vast network of trails. Among its villages, Paganico deserves a visit, with its fascinating city walls and the three main gates that still today constitute the entrance to the historic center (built by the Sienese, in the thirteenth century, to defend their interests) and Cinigiano for a visit to the Clock Tower and the castle of Porrona, a fortified medieval structure that offers a superlative view of the landscape, historical and artistic beauties of the area

Grosseto and plain

Grosseto, if it were not for the historic center enclosed by the mighty hexagonal wall circle erected by the Medici between 1574 and 1593, could be called a modern city.  It is located near the right bank of the Ombrone, just 12 kilometers from the sea – Marina di Grosseto  – and 30 kilometers from Mount Amiata. Its history inevitably intertwines with that of  maremman reclamation. After the conquest of  the Sienese Republic in order to gain control over the extraction of maremma salt, the decay of the city plagued by pestilence and malaria began, followed by a sharp demographic decline. In 1559 with the rule of the powerful Florentine Medici   family things improved. The transformation of the stands and bulwarks into streets and public gardens, are instead the work of the last Grand Duke of Tuscany,  Leopold II, and dates back tothe early 1800s, the years of the Bitter Maremma.

The visit of Grosseto can start from Piazza Dante Alighieri  (or Piazza delle Catene, as it is nicknamed by grossetani because of columns and chains that border the same), the heart of the city, in the center of which is the statue of Canapone, sculpted in 1846 by Luigi Magi, depicts Grand Duke Leopold II of Lorraine in the act of crushing with his right foot a snake symbol of malaria, with a griffin next to him, his dying children and a woman who rises, symbol of the Maremma reborn after the reclamation. It overlooks the  Palazzo della Provincia or Palazzo Aldobrandeschi (once the castle of the powerful feudal family of the Aldobrandeschi), rebuilt in the early 1900s in neo-Gothic style, the right side of the 14th-century cathedral, several times restored (the façade is from the first half of the 1800s) and the terracotta bell tower. Inside the Cathedral of Grosseto, the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, you can admire various valuableworks, including a large baptismal font and the altar of the Madonna delle Grazie, works by Antonio Ghini of the late 1400s, a table with the Madonna delle Grazie of the fifteenth century, a work by Matteo di Giovanni of the fifteenth century, an image much venerated by Grossetans.

 

Lazio Maremma

The Lazio Maremma, the southern part, extends into the western part of the province of Viterbo and at the northwestern end of the province of Rome (Lazio), along the coast of Upper Lazio and in the immediate flat and foothills hinterland of Tuscia, between the mouth of the Chiarone stream and the Capo Linaro, promontory that constitutes the western appendage of the Tolfa Mountains dividing it from the Agro Romano. Among the main towns in the area stand out Vulci, Montalto di Castro, Canino, Tarquinia, Tuscania, Civitavecchia and Santa Marinella.