We might be biased, but Tuscany is really beautiful and when it comes to its sea you will be spoiled for choice: sand, rocks, night life, semi-deserted islands ... there is something for all tastes. Argentario is one additional choice that can be added to this wonderful and varied list of possibilities: it is one of the most beautiful Italian coasts, where you can find the Orbetello WWF Nature Reserve with its lagoon, the long beaches of Feniglia tombolo and Giannella tombolo, the rugged coastline and spectacular coves. Set on this stunning coastline, the two fishing villages of Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole glisten like precious stones. Ansedonia and, more inland, Capalbio are also definitely worth a visit. If you want to visit Argentario in Tuscany, you should not restrict yourself to summer, these areas are also very enjoyable in spring and autumn. The festive season can also be an ideal time to visit: fireworks on the sea, delicious seafood ... and if you are fortunate to pick a nice sunny day, you can enjoy pleasant walks along the seafront.
ARGENTARIO PROMONTORY: Monte Argentario is a promontory that juts into the Tyrrhenian Sea and is joined to the coast by two strips of sand, called tomboli. Do you know the reason for its shape? Because originally Argentario was an island! Sea currents in Feniglia Tombolo, and the debris carried by the River Albegna in Giannella Tombolo created the two sand strips that join the island to the mainland: the formation of the Orbetello Lagoon occurred approximately at the same time. In the area of the Orbetello Lagoon is one of the best known WWF Nature Reserves: its wetland is very important for winter nesting of many species of birds.
The territory of the Argentario peninsula is hilly and the only flatland is situated in the Terrarossa area, while the highest peak is Monte Telegrafo (635 m). A great way to visit Argentario is to drive along the coast road that connects Porto Santo Stefano to Porto Ercole: winding along the coast overlooking the open sea it offers, at every turn, a different and unforgettable panorama. It is a wonderful route that can be almost entirely driven by car ...'almost' because unfortunately, due to a landslide, one section is accessible only on foot.
The Argentario (Italy) is also easy to get to: you just get onto the Aurelia state road and exit at Orbetello, then follow the signs for the town that you have chosen and you are there. Argentario is served by the Pisa-Rome train line which has stations in Orbetello and Talamone.
ARGENTARIO SPIAGGIE. The alternating lagoons and rocky coasts cause the Argentario beaches to have different characteristics. Just choose, perhaps with the luxury of following the mood of the day... this is the beauty of Argentario holidays!
However, if you like sandy beaches with sloping seabed, comfortable beds, a cosy bar for drinks or a bite to eat, then it is better to opt for Giannella Beach or Feniglia Beach, suitable even for children. The Giannella Beach is located close to Porto S. Stefano and can be reached very easily on the road that runs alongside: behind it there is a shady pine forest in which you can enjoy cool relaxing moments. If you are more into sports, you know that here 'you go where the wind takes you' practicing windsurfing and kite-surfing! Feniglia Beach is located near Porto Ercole and has the same features as Giannella. The pine forest behind also houses the Feniglia Dune Nature Reserve: it is a dune about 6 km long where you can go for a pleasant walk, observing the rich wildlife of the lagoon.
Porto Santo Stefano beaches are all close to the village: Caletta is located in the village and even has an Argentario scuba point that will allow you to venture out in search of seahorses; Spiaggia La Bionda, also within walking distance, features a barrier of rocks with constantly calm waters; Spiaggia dei Bagni di Domiziano, a small sandy bay overlooked by the ruins of the Roman Villa of the Domizi Enobarbi, is suitable for children but does not provide toilet facilities or refreshments; Spiaggia la Soda is easily accessible from the mainland and features pebbles and safe sea bathing. After Porto Santo Stefano, Mount Argentario beaches become more rocky and often less easy to reach.
In the opposite direction to Porto S Stefano Italy is the much more wild Spiaggia della Cacciarella: a small sandy cove accessed via a 500 meter long path. Once there, have a dip in the sea and you will be rewarded by the beautiful seafloor and by Grotta del Turco. Continuing in the same direction you will arrive at Cala Grande (Argentario), which is clearly visible from the panoramic road and easily spotted because of the many boats moored here: it can be reached following a 500 meter long path that winds through the Mediterranean shrubs Cala del Gesso is one of the best Argentario beaches: from its shores covered with fine pebbles, you can enjoy beautiful views of the island of Argentarola and, to your right, the remains of an ancient watchtower. Reaching it is somehow challenging, we advise you not to do it during the hottest hours: follow the scenic route and Paolieri street after which you can park your car. From here walk along the tarmac road (about 700 meters) where you will enjoy wonderful views making you feel your efforts were worthwhile. The beach of Cala Piccola is a favourite with divers because of the presence of Scoglio del Corallo, a 45 meters deep rock wall reaching the water surface. Before moving on to the Porto Ercole beaches let's stop at the Spiaggia del Mar Morto, named after a kind of barrier that stops the water and forms pleasant natural pools! Position yourself on the smooth rocks, there is always a slight breeze ... which never reaches the beach! If you are fair-skinned take plenty of sunscreen with you and a sun umbrella because there are no sheltered areas.
The beaches on Porto Ercole are all accessible from the scenic road: you can access the Acqua Dolce beach, covered with sand and pebbles, following a 200 metre long path suitable to everyone; same distance to Spiaggia Lunga which is freely accessible but you can also hire sun umbrellas and sun beds; finally, La Spiaggia le Viste beach is freely accessible but also provides facilities on a charge.
ARGENTARIO WHAT TO SEE. We are all agreed, at Argentario sea is the main attraction…but surely not the only one! If you decide to pay a visit to Argentario in Tuscany you cannot fail to visit Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole: either in summer for a dinner with a view over the sea or in winter to explore at your leisure the ancient streets and fortresses.
Porto S. Stefano is located in the northern part of Argentario Promontory and is a charming seaside village. Upon arriving you will find yourself at Porto del Valle where, besides the ferries to Giannutri and Giglio, you will see many fishing boats and vessels moored and being skilfully restored to their former glory by local shipwrights. A stroll along bustling Lungomare dei Naviganti, designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, is a must both in the day and at night due to its relaxing atmosphere! The Navigatori promenade continues to the small tourist port and the main square, Piazza dei Rioni, teeming with bars and restaurants. At this point, all that remains is to pluck up the courage and climb the steep slope leading to the Spanish Fortress, built in the seventeenth century by the Spanish governor Nunez Orejón De Ávila. Consisting of two levels, it was erected in a location overlooking the harbour, so that postcard views will open up in front of you. Turning back toward the trading port, perhaps after a nice ice cream, pop in at the Mediterranean Aquarium of the Costa d'Argento to learn about fish species from the area.
Porto Ercole (Italy) is another lovely marina which is located in the easternmost part of Argentario Promontory. The picturesque and oldest part of the village is located within the Walls, erected by the Siena rulers in the second half of 1400s, and are accessed via Porta Pisana. Piazza Santa Barbara, which offers a beautiful view of the harbour, is the location of the Palace of the Governor, built in the first half of the sixteenth century. The oldest church is located inside the walls of the village, almost at its highest point: the original construction dates back to the fourteenth century. It is dedicated to St. Erasmus, the patron of sailors, which is celebrated every year on June 2 with the procession to the sea during which the Saint's relics are hoisted on a fishing boat. Finally, on a hill overlooking the whole town, you will find the majestic Rocca Aldobrancesca; built between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period.
Ansedonia, situated on a promontory in the south-eastern part of the municipality of Orbetello, will enchant you especially with its archaeological finds, the most notable ones being represented by the ruins of Città di Cosa. This is an ancient settlement founded by the Romans in 273 B.C., but of Etruscan origins, where you can still see the remains of the walls, the Roman Forum and the Temple of Jupiter. From an archaeological point of view, we also need to mention Lo Spacco della Regina e La Tagliata Etrusca: these are two hydraulic engineering structures dating back to the Etruscan-Roman period. Lo Spacco della Regina is a crevice in the promontory consisting of a series of artificially dug tunnels, whilst La Tagliata Etrusca is a channel dug in the rock in order to stop the silting-up of the harbour.
SNORKELING, DIVING AND MORE! If you think that holidays should be dedicated to active and energetic pursuits, at Argentario Italy you will have no problems filling your days up! Walking is an ideal activity to visit the Promontorio dell’Argentario along exciting trails: magical views over the sea will open up in front of you through the clearings of the Mediterranean shrubs. An interesting destination at Argentario is the Convent of the Passionist Fathers as well as the numerous watch towers dotting the coastline. Many of the trails are also suitable to mountain-biking, but the rugged terrain can make your rides quite strenuous. Are you after something even more adrenaline-packed? How about a thrilling climb on the cliffs of Capo d'Uomo? It is a rock face with climbing anchor bolts that offer different climbing routes all overlooking the sea: an experience not for everyone, but certainly one that you will remember. Are you a golf fan? Then head for the Argentario Golf Resort, where you will be able to practice your favourite sport in a breathtaking natural setting, pampered by an elegant and refined atmosphere.
What else is there for you to do during your holidays at Argentario than to get in touch with the essence of this wonderful land once you have idled away your time in the Argentario coves and practiced a bit of sports, and even paid a long visit to Porto Ercole and Porto Santo Stefano ... There is no doubt that next on the list for you is the alchemy of fragrances and flavours created by its rich cuisine! As one can expect, at Argentario fish is the first choice with many dishes on the local menus, including just to name a few: 'Caldaro dell’ Argentario' soup, 'Scaveccio' fried fish left to soak in a marinade of vinegar and spices and 'Tonnina' salted and dried tuna loins. For a quick snack try the typical 'Focaccia of Porto Santo Stefano' with onions and anchovies. Do you think you could forego a dessert at the end of you dinner? Certainly not, a good swim is just what it takes to burn it all off anyway! Try a slice of 'Coroglio all’Alchermes', a typical donut covered with granulated sugar. And... what about the wine choices? We recommend a glass of 'Ansonica Costa d'Argento' a DOC wine produced from the local vineyards. And at the end, to digest everything and avoid spending the night tossing and turning in bed, a small glass of ‘amaro’ liqueur. You have just one choice in this case, you should definitely try the 'Liquore Argentarium' made with local herbs according to an ancient recipe from the Passionist Friars. The next day you will wake up feeling energetic and rested, ready for another day to discover Argentario!
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