The area around Grosseto
The province of Grosseto is located in the extreme south of Tuscany, and its territory is characterized by very different areas: in the vicinity of the sea we have in fact the lush plain of the Maremma, while the hinterland is mainly covered by hills.
Along the coast there are also natural reserves, with areas still wild and sparsely populated, where there are wild herds, deer, foxes and wild boar. Scattered on the surrounding hills instead there are ancient medieval villages.
The ancient village of Capalbio is easily accessible from the north and south along the Aurelia road. The visit of the historic center, not accessible to cars, starts from the arched door surmounted by the Medici coat of arms. The great door, in wood and iron, was closed in the past to sunset. We continue along the central Via Vittorio Emanuele II, skirting the walls that still preserve the original walkway of the soldiers and on the right, we arrive at the Arco Santo, above which is a marble portrait of Emperor Hadrian from the 2nd century. a. C.
Continuing along the road we arrive to the church of San Nicola, dating back to the XII – XIII century; inside there are valuable Renaissance frescoes. Walking along Via Collacchioni we arrive instead at Piazza della Rocca, which is also the highest point of Capalbio. La Rocca is an “L” -shaped fortification dating back to the 15th century flanked by Palazzo Collacchioni, inside which the piano played by Giacomo Puccini during his stays in Capalbio is preserved. The inside of the Rocca is quite bare, but some rooms are finely decorated. In addition, the castle is now home to events and exhibitions. It is possible to go up to the terrace of the tower and from here to admire a wonderful panorama of the surrounding hills, all the way to the sea.
From the Rocca you can reach the beautiful Piazza Magenta, a meeting place and setting for numerous cultural events, especially in summer. The very well preserved walls of Capalbio are able to convey all the old charm of a village of other times. Finally, just outside the walls there is the Oratory of Providence, with frescoes from the 16th century. attributed to Pinturicchio’s school.
Giglio Castello is a small hamlet located on the Island of Giglio, as well as the oldest inhabited center. The village, easily reachable by bus coming from the small port, is 400 meters above sea level and is surrounded by the massive medieval walls of the Rocca Aldobrandesca, built in the 12th century. To visit also the Church of San Pietro Apostolo. It is possible to admire the beauty of this place out of time along the characteristic streets of the village.
It is also possible to go for walks along the path outside the walls, from which you can admire the surrounding landscape, which stretches from the island of Giannutri, Elba and Corsica.
The charming village of Pitigliano is characterized by dwellings dug out of the tuff that blend with the rock on which they have built. Because of its small but ancient Jewish community, which has lived there for centuries, it is also known as the “little Jerusalem”. The historic center is certainly one of the most interesting in Italy, with its ancient monuments built between the Middle Ages and the XVIII century. You can indeed visit the Orsini Fortress and Palazzo Orsini, as well as ancient buildings from the 1500s and 1600s. Here the atmosphere has remained intact over time. It is also possible to walk the fascinating “cave streets”, very ancient Etruscan roads created by cutting the tuff rock.
It is a fraction belonging to the municipality of Sorano and in the past it was an important Etruscan center. In the Middle Ages it became a rich and important city, as witnessed by the many religious and civil buildings present in this village, as well as by the Rocca Aldobrandesca, dating back to the 11th century, which can be admired at the entrance to the historic center. Time seems to have stopped in Sovana.
Walking along the main street, you arrive in Piazza del Pretorio, where the main monuments are located: the church of S. Mamiliano (IV century BC), built on Etruscan and Roman remains, is the oldest religious structure in Sovana.
You can also admire the Bourbon del Monte Palace, the church of Santa Maria (XII-XIII century), as well as the Loggia del Capitano, which houses the coat of arms belonging to Cosimo I de ‘Medici. Finally there is Palazzo Pretorio (XII-XIII century) with the 9 coats of arms showing the names of the captains lived during the dominion of Siena and Florence. At the center of the square stands the Palazzetto Comunale with its bell tower.
Porto Ercole is a pretty seaside resort located near the Argentario Promontory, and is considered one of the most beautiful towns in Italy. Of Etruscan origin (like many other villages in the area), it has a characteristic small port and a historical center formed by a tangle of alleys and small squares that lead to Piazza S. Barbara, from which it is possible to have a beautiful view of the port. At the top of the village, in the old part of the town, there is also a church from the 1700s and the Rocca Spagnola (a castle). The latter, together with Forte Filippo and Forte Stella, is part of the fortifications built in the 16th century, still perfectly preserved today and from which you can admire wonderful views.
Porto Ercole has developed in particular along the natural bay, where today there is a port that is still active and a beautiful promenade where you can walk and where bars and restaurants alternate with those that were once fishermen’s warehouses.
A curiosity: Michelangelo Merisi, known as il Caravaggio, died in Porto Ercole in July 1610 under still mysterious circumstances.