The sea and the coast of the Maremma
The Coast, the Beaches and the Sea of the Tuscan Maremma
For those who enjoy the sun and the sea, the Maremma represents a real nature paradise. Each year, the coast of the Maremma is awarded the Blue Flag recognizing the quality and the cleanness of the waters along its 160km of shoreline. The stretches of sandy and rocky coastline allow all sea lovers to find the perfect place for them. Moreover, the vast pine tree forests which border the beaches of the Maremma are a real naturalistic treasure and so are the few areas where the lagoon and swamp ecosystems have survived urbanization, reclamation or simple draining, such as the nature reserve of the Diaccia Botrona near Castiglione della Pescaia.
This latter is certainly one of the most popular coastal towns, alongside Marina di Grosseto, Marina di Alberese, Follonica and Punt’Ala. The Maremma boasts several other areas of great beauty and worldwide fame farther away from Grosseto, such as the Argentario peninsula, Talamone, and the Tuscan Archipelago with its beautiful little islands which can be reached by boat from many of the ports and smaller harbours of the Maremma.
Costa d’Argento (literally, the Silver Coast) is the southernmost part of Tuscany and extends to the border with the region of Lazio. It is located between the mountain range known as the Monte dell’Uccellina and Lake Burano. This area, where the Via Aurelia highway runs lengthwise, has been inhabited since the Antiquity and gets its name from the Monte Argentario, a promontory or rather a headland overlooking the Tyrrhenian sea and the archipelago and which can be seen from a distance from virtually everywhere along the coastline of the Maremma. For this reason, Monte Argentario can be probably considered the best symbol of the coastal Maremma.
The Argentario area is very popular among lovers of water sports, diving and snorkelling, but also among those who simply like to enjoy a quiet day boating or sailing. The Costa d’Argento is not only famous for its fantastic beaches, but also for the Nature Park of the Maremma (also known as Parco dell’Uccellina): hikers and nature lovers should not miss this unique experience. The Maremma Nature Park has well-maintained hiking trails and biking tours and horseback rides in the park are also possible. Moreover the beach of Marina di Alberese is one of the most beautiful places of the Maremma littoral. A curiosity: part of this beach is for nudists.
For nature lovers, another nice day trip idea is a hike to Lake Burano. This lake is the heart of a bird sanctuary and nature reserve managed by the World Wildlife Federation (WWF), where one can go bird watching. Rare species of birds can be observed in their natural habitat when they go there to nest.
In this part of the Maremma there are many places of remarkable historic and artistic interest. This region has been populated since the Etruscan and Roman eras, and which then – in the sole case in this part of Italy – experienced the domination of the Spanish Empire, which left behind incredible stories of treasures and pirates. Last but not least, the Orbetello seaplane station hosted the takeoff of the first transatlantic flight in 1930. At the ports of Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole visitors can still see the little workshops where carpenters fix the fishermen‘s boats and where they mend their fishing nets after coming back from a day at sea. The charm of these ports derives also from the fact that they were already used by the Romans when they set sail to reach the noble villas of the Islands of Giannutri and Giglio. These villages are very lively in the Summer when they host traditional festivals. On June 2, Porto Ercole celebrates its Patron Saint, Saint Erasmus, and on August 15, called Ferragosto, Porto Santo Stefano remembers a repelled Saracen assault with a parade in historical costumes and with the Palio Marinaro dell’Argentario, a boat race.
Orbetello and surroundings are well deserving of a visit. In particular we recommend a stop at the beautiful village of Talamone – which boasts a castle of the 15th century – and, at the village of Ansedonia, of Roman origin and nowadays a very popular beach and holiday resort. Orbetello itself is located on a lagoon which is considered by most people a real naturalistic heritage.
Capalbio, with its fortress, its city walls and the medieval city centre, is also known as the bandits’ town, because of the legendary forays of the end of the 19th, which were favoured by the isolated location of the town on the border with Lazio. The Maremman outlaw Tiburzi is certainly the most famous of these rascals and his adventures are handed down from generation to generation by the many ballads which are sung by the few story-tellers that still animate the traditional Summer village festivals. The centre of the town is very beautiful: the medieval streets, the town walls, a church of the 13th century and a Roman bust of the Emperor Adrian are enough to make Capalbio the perfect destination for a daytrip. The highlight of the Summer is the International Short Film Festival.
Magliano in Toscana is another village that is well worth a visit. We especially recommend that visitors hike or bike among the remains of the Romanesque church of San Bruzio dating back to the 12th century. This church is located in a very picturesque place, among cypresses on the rolling hills of Tuscany and among ruins of ancient Etruscan tombs that recall the many people who lived their lives in this charming area in bygone times. The tombs carved in stone and tuff in Santa Maria in Borraccia, the ancient Roman road that, leads to the painted Tomb of the Chimeras through the fields, the many country churches and the towers protecting the coastline, all contribute to the uniqueness of Magliano.
Of course, this area of the Maremma also has its D.O.C. wines, such as the D.O.C. wine Capalbio and the D.O.C. wine Parrina.
When we talk about the Maremma and its coast, however, we cannot forget to mention the islands of the Tuscan archipelago, a nature sea park, and an extraordinary place for the beauty of its depths and the cleanliness of the seawater. The Isles known as Giglio and Giannutri in particular are not to be missed by those who love beach holidays. Isola del Giglio is not very big but its three villages, Giglio Porto, Campese and Il Castello (the castle), are inhabited all year round. The island becomes more animated during the Summer months when thousands of visitors arrive to enjoy its crystal clean sea, the little harbours and creeks, and the beach, but also to try the good wine and the seafood, cooked according to tradition. An excellent moment to visit Giglio is on September 15, when the island celebrates Saint Momiliano, its Patron Saint.
For those who wish to have a less touristy experience, the isle of Giannutri is a better destination. Even though it is quite close to the Island of Giglio, it is definitely a place for those who wish to “get away from it all” for the day and plunge into history and nature. Besides its fantastic (and protected) coastline, where it is possible to dock only in certain places, Giannutri has been inhabited for centuries and is home to one of the main archaeological sites in Tuscany: the ruins of the Roman Villa of the Domizi Enobarbi (first half of the 1st century AD).
For those who wish to explore the many islands of the Tuscan Arcipelago, it is possible to participate in one of the mini-cruises advertised on these websites:
- Isla Negra – cruises and charter in the Tyrrhenian sea
- Vega navi – tours of the Tuscan archipelago
- Minicruises in the Tuscan Archipelago sailing from Castiglione della Pescaia
Itineraries in this area of the Maremma, information about the archaeological sites of the Maremma and about the villages and towns of this part of Tuscany can be found in the Costa d’Argento brochure (auf Deutsch; en français) and in the Giglio and Giannutri brochure (auf Deutsch; en français) by the Maremma Tourism Office . Other itineraries and suggestions for day trips in the Maremma are also available on the website of the Proloco Association of Marina di Grosseto.
And now, go back to the introduction to the Maremma or keep on reading about our recommended itineraries in the Tuscan Maremma:
- The Heart of the Maremma: Grosseto and the Tyrrhenian Coast
- The Hills of the Upper Maremma: Pitigliano & co.
- The Colline Metallifere: the North of the Maremma
- The Interior: The area of Civitella Marittima and Casina di Rosa