Maremma, Italy is a place with a long, fascinating story: In the Middle Ages, the Romans and Etruscan abandoned the land. Soon after, the abandoned place became a Malaria ridden swamp that couldn’t be cultivated. In the 18th Century, the ruler Hapsburg-Lorraine ordered for the area to be drained. The job ended after World War II, making the Maremma a world that is still very wild and undiscovered. Many people come here especially in the hot summer to soak in the cooling waters. I am a restless person and lounging on the beach isn’t so thrilling for me. Thankfully, there are many more enjoyable things to see and do in Maremma so let’s go on an adventure.
See the Etruscan ruins
If it’s cloudy enough, a visit to see the Etruscan ruins would be a fun walk down memory lane. At Vulci, you will come by devil’s bridge on ancient Roman roads, pottery, and Cumulus tombs. Be sure to go for a wonderful photo session at the Lago di Pellicone at Vucci.
Saturnia thermal baths
While exploring the Maremma, don’t forget to stop at Saturnia. Entrance is free to the “Cascate di Mulino” spring just 6km outside Saturnia town. You can soak in the warm waters yourself to see if the talk about health benefits holds any water. The natural sulfurous waters receive global acclaim for being beneficial to skin, gut and other body organs. For more bathing in sulfur, the Caldana in Val di Cornia offers an excellent opportunity. Venturina Thermal Baths are surrounded by the hills from where you can enjoy stunning views of the blue sea.
It seems as if these fascinating towns rise from the hilltops on which they were so masterfully built. Pitigliano, Sovana, and Sorano are three sister towns that provide visitors idyllic views of the land beyond. In Sovana you will come across the Orsini Fortress; the Maremma’s most imposing and important medieval stronghold. The cities of the dead are an eerie reminder of Etruscans who inhabited the land in the 8th Century B.C. The rock sculpted passages spread out in many directions from the valleys below one of the towns. These corridors linked the cities to places associated with their cults.
Sample some local delicacies
Maremma is famous for world boar whether as sausage or local salami. You can enjoy delicious boar meat in an olive stew or as a sauce for your pasta. Another tantalizing meal you can easily have in this area is the Sorano bean stew or rare Roccalbegna salty biscuits which are a very unique combination of ingredients. If you are into seafood, Palamita filet with bay leaves and chili pepper garnished with a drizzle of olive oil will leave your taste buds buzzing. Other culinary delights in this part of Tuscany include; fried frogs, stewed pheasant, and aquacotta. Meaning ‘cooked water’ this was once a survival dish made from readily available ingredients such as vegetables, eggs, tomatoes, onions, olive oil, some cheese, and bread.
Maremma is a haven for hundreds of bird species including herons, flamingo, Pochard, warblers, Zitting Cisticola and Tufted ducks. Lagoon Orbetello is a vast wetland in Grosetto’s and a real paradise for bird watching. You can also take to Lago di Burano to see some of the birds that call it home. The area is so rich in birds that you will not walk for long in any direction without spotting a bird. Whether in the marshes, fields, or around lagoons there are birds everywhere in Maremma. Winter is a good time to see wild geese, cranes, egrets and teal fighting over territory.
Even if you don’t believe in tarot cards and predicting the future, Niki De Saint Phalle, The Tarot Garden will amaze you. Named for the artist who initiated the project in the 70s, the garden remains an attraction for locals and tourists too. Niki always wanted to create a magical place for her Tarot-themed sculptures and her dreams came true when friends allowed her to build it in their land in Maremma. The often crowded Tarot Garden only opens in the afternoon.