Coast of Maremma

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MAREMMA SEASIDE: a deserted beach, only frequented by a multitude of branches bleached by the sea, stacked to form makeshift huts. This is the image of the Maremma and its 'wild heart', pristine and primitive. Lovers of holidays fully immersed in nature, those who are prepared to put up with a few small inconveniences, will surely be satisfied with all the possible types of Maremma holidays. But Maremma coast is also a great destination for those who prefer beaches equipped with umbrellas and sun beds: these will not be missing. The atmosphere here is less wild and ‘beachier’, not to forget the omnipresent crystal-clear sea.
And where is this beautiful sea? Let’s go in order. The Maremma, geographically speaking, is a large region that includes the southern area of Tuscany and part of Lazio. It is generally identified as the part of Grosseto that extends between the Gulf of Follonica and the Argentario up to the slopes of Mount Amiata. Maremma Toscana is a fascinating land with a wide variety of landscapes: vast sandy beaches such as Principina but also cliffs north of Talamone, hills covered with intricate forests in Uccellina, wetlands such as Trappola, charming villages such as Castiglione della Pescaia and even Terme di Saturnia. George Clooney would ask, whilst sipping at his coffee: 'What else'?

 

MAREMMA REGION: ENVIRONMENT, TRADITIONS, CULTURE. The two archaeological sites of Maremma - Populonia in the province of Livorno, on the Gulf of Baratti, and Roselle, near Grosseto - testify to the presence of the Etruscans and Romans in Maremma. The lookout towers like the ones on the coast, castles and fortified villages offer evidence of the presence of the Aldobrandeschi family, the Medici and the Lorraine. In particular, it was Leopold II of Lorraine who had the initiative to improve the marshy and unhealthy area. The work was only completed at the end of World War II. The whole historic journey of Tuscan Maremma is marked by repeated attempts to dry the swampy land: a hard struggle, as told by the popular song rediscovered in the 60s and emblem of the past of this land: 'Maremma Amara'. Maremma, Italy is also a land of traditions that its inhabitants try very hard to keep alive. An example is the ‘buttero’, or in other words a real Tuscan cowboy who deals with Maremmana cattle herds, those of light colour with long horns, whilst riding great Maremma horse breeds. A good way to see them at work is at the events organized by the various farms throughout the year. 'La Merca del Bestiame e doma del puledro’ is a famous one and takes place every year on May 1st and in mid-August in the sports field of Albarese.

 

MAREMMA NATURAL PARK. After respect for tradition, the other distinctive feature of Italian Maremma is precisely the concern for the environment that materializes in Parco Naturale della Maremma. It is also called Parco Uccellina since these reliefs occupy most of the protected area. Established in 1975 on the territory of the Alberese estate, purchased precisely by Leopold of Lorraine, it covers a surface of 98 square kilometres: it extends from the old Paludi della Trappola almost up to Talamone, while in the east it is bordered by Uccellina Mountains and the Aurelia road. It is open all year round and can be visited by following one of the 15 itineraries. Tickets can be purchased at the visitor centres or online and also include the shuttle service that takes you to the start of each itinerary. It is best to inquire at the Centro Visite Alberese (open all year) or at the one in Collecchio (summer only), or at the Info-point of Acquario di Talamone (open on holidays). Maremma Park itineraries, in fact, are open at different times of the year, and some are only feasible with a guide. Routes can be made on foot, by canoe, horse-riding, in a carriage, by bicycle and even on a donkey – the latter is just for kids!
Are you wondering what to see in Maremma? Maremma natural park is a green oasis where you can experience all sorts of environments: the forest of the Uccellina Mountains, pine forests and coastal areas (the park stretches over a coastline as long as 25 km, from Principina mare to Talamone including three beaches: marina di Alberese, Collelungo and Cala Forno) wetlands, agricultural areas and even some caves. You can observe various types of wildlife such as cormorants, flamingos, herons, deer and wild boars and also typical Maremma domestic animals like cattle and Maremma horses. As for flora, depending on the area you visit you will find different species ranging from maritime pine trees to oak forests in the northern areas, black hornbeam in the Uccellina mountains, maple and laurel, and finally juniper and dwarf fan palm in the rocky areas. But nature is not the only interesting aspect: the park owns a wide historical, architectural and artistic heritage dating back to different periods. It ranges from caves containing archaeological testimonies of the Neolithic and Neanderthal man (Grotta di Fabbrica, Grotta di Golino and Grotta dello Scoglietto) to the many watchtowers that dot the coast and were erected to defend against pirate attacks: Torre di Colle Lungo, Torre Trappola, Torre di Cala Forno. Suggestive are also the remains of the complex of the Abbazia San Rabano dating back to the early eleventh century and which included a church, a bell tower, the monastery and the watchtower. At the visit centre of Talamone visits there is also a small aquarium – particularly interesting are a series of tanks which recreate the ecosystems of our seas, together with a rehabilitation centre for sea turtles that deals with treating the ones that are struggling and putting them back into nature. Bring your kids here: discovering the secrets of the sea is always a fascinating experience.

MAREMMA BEACHES. Its wildest beaches are, naturally, those within the Maremma Park, all within walking distance from car parks. These beaches, with the exception of the first stretch of Marina di Alberese, are uncrowded and free of services: no bars, no toilets and if you want an umbrella you must bring one from home! Concerning Cala Forno, one of the most protected beaches in Italy, you can only access it following a paid itinerary accompanied by a guide. But the sea of ​​Maremma does not only have beaches like these! There are several resorts and beaches where you will find all sorts of services. At the end nobody goes on holiday wanting to see the same old beach and the same old sea! There are those who want to feel a bit like Robinson Crusoe and those who like to take it easy! Which group do you belong to? Meanwhile, let’s see what the various seaside resorts in the area offer, just to make sure you can find your beach and your sea!

 

CASTIGLIONE DELLA PESCAIA is located at 25 km from Grosseto and is one of the busiest centres in the Maremma marine area. Easy to explain why: wide beaches overlooking the crystal-clear sea, repeatedly awarded the Blue Flag, Castiglione is also a pretty medieval village in which streets you can enjoy the taste of the past but also of good Tuscan cuisine. And if you like shopping, take your time to stop in various shops full of handicraft objects, delicatessen and unmissable Maremma wine bottles. Do not just think about souvenirs, because the prettiest one you can get will always be the one you keep inside you! So look around - do not miss the Castle, now a private property which offers a stunning view. Still in the medieval village, where the walls still stand containing the gates to the village, it is worth visiting the Pieve di San Giovanni Battista, the Church of Santa Maria del Giglio, the Palazzo Pretorio located between Via delle Mura and Via della Fortress and Palazzo Camaiore in Via dell'Amore. It is also interesting to visit Casa Rossa Ximenes, a building constructed in the 1700s to direct the waters of the Diaccia Botrona area that flow into the Tyrrhenian Sea through a series of dams and bulkheads, as designed by the engineer Ximenes. Inside the building there is an interesting multimedia museum: you can see real-time videos of some webcams installed in Parco della Maremma. The beach of Castiglione della Pescaia is located in front of the village and there are both free and equipped areas. Given it has fairly shallow waters it is perfectly suitable for holidays in Maremma with children, who flock to the area in the summer. The beach continues past the lighthouse up to Riva del Sole and Rocchette.

 

MARINA DI GROSSETO AND PRINCIPINA A MARE are the classic seaside resorts, particularly suitable for Maremma sea holidays with young children. They offer wide beaches, nearly up to 50 metres, most of which are equipped with only a few free areas. The beach, bordered by a luxuriant pine forest, can be easily reached by parking nearby and walking from the town centre. The most beautiful part naturalistically is probably ‘Spiaggia delle Marze’, north of the village. If you do not want to stay still and sunbathe, there are a lot of alternatives: windsurfing, kite surfing, water skiing as well as many sailing and diving centres. If you prefer to pedal there is also a nice bike path that connects Marina di Grosseto, Principina and Castiglione della Pescaia. There are numerous accommodation services: hotels, holiday homes, apartments and campsites.

 

TALAMONE stands on a promontory overlooking the homonymous gulf and is located on the southern edge of the Maremma National Park Tuscany. It is a pleasant medieval village at the top of which remain some remnants of ancient Rocca Aldobrandesca, a fortification that allowed Garibaldi and his volunteers to arm themselves before leaving for their expedition. As for the beaches, ‘Bagno delle donne’ is a seaside resort located in a charming little beach located under the Rocca - just follow the narrow road and the steps. The beach that follows the road to Talamone is the perfect place for surfing, windsurfing and kite surfing. In the Gulf there are various coves with rocky bottoms where snorkelling is fun. And if you did not manage to spot any fish, being a hard task, make up by going to the Aquarium of Talamone! Here you will see some for sure!

 

Would you like to know if you can go to these wonderful areas only in the summer period? Definitely not! Unless you want to go for a swim without freezing it is best to wait for the right temperature… or just wear a swimsuit! The sea of ​​Maremma offers numerous opportunities for diving, such as at the islands known as 'ants', situated just off the coast and accessible taking advantage of the means offered by the 'diving centre' from Castiglione della Pescaia and Argentario. Same goes for those who love sailing - even in this case there is no need to wait until summer. In the area there are numerous ports where you can moor your boat or rent one: Porto di Punta Ala, Porto di Castiglione della Pescaia, Porto di Talamone, Porto di Marina di Grosseto. Instead, for activities suitable for everyone, all seasons are right: walking on the beach under the warm springtime sun or in clear winter days these beaches have an unexpected charm, just like the sunsets seen from promontories and fortresses in the villages. I do not know which season it is while you are reading, but I'm sure that in any case you cannot wait to set off... go for it! I can assure you you will not regret going on a nice Maremma holiday!