Grosseto - The Cathedral
The Province of Grosseto lies in southern Tuscany and reaches from the slopes of the Colline Metallifere (Metalliferous Hills) to the border with Lazio, comprising the multifarious landscapes of the Maremma.
The coastline between the Gulf of Follonica and the mouth of the Chiarone River offers sceneries of singular beauty dominated by pine forests and crystal-clear waters. It is home to famous resorts such as Marina di Grosseto, Principina a Mare, Castiglione della Pescaia, Punta Ala and Punta Talamone.
Tourist destinations of international renown include Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole, the two pearls of Monte Argentario - the green promontory stretching out to the sea and surrounded by a high and rocky coastline. It is connected to the mainland by the long sandy beaches of Giannella and Feniglia, nicknamed “the necks”. Pristine landscapes and magnificent views are the characterizing features of the Islands of Giglio, Giannutri and Formiche di Grosseto, favorite diving spots thanks to the population of colorful seabed flora.
The hinterland is also rich in possibilities. In the Monterondo Marittimo area of the wild Colline Metallifere, the Biancane Natural Park is just waiting to be discovered. An area noted for the emission of hot, white steam from the depths of the earth, it boasts extraordinary landscapes and a surreal atmosphere.
Another typical environment here is Maremma Grossetana, where the wide plains of Ombrone, Fiora and Albegna intersperse with hills.
The Maremma is the land of the buttero (the typical local cowboy), of authentic local products, of rural traditions handed down over the centuries, and of pure, wild nature.
Numerous protected zones thrive in this area, including the Parco Naturale della Maremma e Monti dell’Uccellina; the Natural Reserve of the Lagoon of Orbetello, an immense mirror of water that welcomes many species of birds every season; and Burano Lake, a magnificent coastal saltwater lake and WWF Oasis.
In the southeastern corner of the Province, the so-called “Tufo area” is characterized by erosive phenomena, beautiful villages and very important Etruscan necropolises.
Apart from its natural beauty and the variety of its environments, the Province of Grosseto is home to considerable artistic heritage, art settlements, small and fascinating centers impressed by the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and archaeological sites that conserve Roman and Etruscan finds.
A rich gastronomic tradition and the excellent local wines add an extra touch of magic to this fascinating land.
The first stop of any tour of the area should be Grosseto itself, with its old town hemmed in by the hexagonal 16th-Century wall and dominated by the impressive Medici Fortress.
Monuments of particular importance are the Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral, with an abundant collection of artworks; the Church of San Francesco; and the Maremma Museum of Archaeology and Art that conserves locally-important paintings and archaeological finds.
The golden beaches of Giannella and Feniglia, the thick Mediterranean vegetation, the stunning 16th-Century fortifications and unique panoramas define the Promontory of Monte Argentario, making this an alluring tourist destination for a seaside vacation of cliffs, coves and scuba diving. In two little natural inlets located on opposite sides of the peninsula lie Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole, sophisticated and glitzy, while at the same time enchanting for their rich history. Porto Santo Stefano is a typical port community, with its seafront, the Old Port, the New Port and the majestic Spanish Fortress. Porto Ercole is also striking with its colored houses scattered around the bay and its mighty walls, all dominated by the Fortresses on high.
Within the heart of the Colline Metallifere is a town of considerable artistic value, among the Province's most important: Massa Marittima, with its Medieval splendor preserved intact. A stroll through its center invites admiration of its fine monuments, among them the Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral, the Palazzo Pretorio and the Sienese For, linked to the Candeliere Tower by a unique bridge with flying buttresses. Finally, outside the city lies Lake Accesa. This is an area of great natural value, evidenced by the Archaeological Park bearing remnants left over from the Etruscan Civilization.
Traditional villages are still abundant in the area, like Scansano, homeland of the Morellino wine; Civitella Marittima with its narrow streets and small Renaissance buildings; Capalbio, the romantic Medieval village; Castiglione della Pescaia, fascinating tourist resort on the sea; and Manciano with its neighboring thermal spa complex of Saturnia.
The “Città del Tufo” is well-worth a visit: three beautiful villages that lie on rocky outcrops, they are surrounded by the striking valleys of Pitigliano, Sorano and Sovana, rich in Etruscan, Medieval and Renaissance remains.
Do not miss a visit to the Città del Tufo Archaeological Park, which has its hub in the Etruscan necropolis of Sovana and includes the vie cave, ancient roads dug into the rock.
Other archaeological sites include the necropolises of Vetulonia, that constitute the greatest evidence of Etruscan funerary architecture; the Ruins of Cosa, the ancient Roman colony; and the Ruins of Roselle, ancient Etruscan and - later Roman - settlement.
Just as obligatory is an excursion to the Island of Giglio: visit its typical fortified village of Giglio Castello, located on the peak of the mountain, perfect for one-of-a-kind views of the islands and of unforgettable sunsets.
The environmental variety of Grosseto Province provides diverse opportunities for a fun vacation in close contact with nature. Water lovers can choose between rocks, small bays or long beaches and dedicate themselves to water sports and sailing. The wonderful, colorful seabeds of the Monte Argentario Promontory and the nearby islands are ideal for scuba diving.
The protected areas offer numerous tracks for excursions on foot, by bike or on horseback of varying levels and difficulties, against the backdrop of the green hills and valleys of the Maremma.
The visiting itinerary at the Biancane Natural Park is particularly intriguing for its phenomenon of hot steam emissions, and not only. Observation towers designated for birdwatching can be found in the Riserva Naturale Laguna di Orbetello and near Lake Burano, both populated by numerous bird species that include cormorants, herons and flamingos.
Golf fanatics can devote themselves to their favorite pastime in various settings immersed beautiful natural sceneries, from Punta Ala to Grosseto, from Saturnia to Argentario.
Thanks to the therapeutic properties of their waters, several spas invite travelers to pursue health and well-being in the best way possible: among them are the famous Terme di Saturnia, known and enjoyed since Roman times, and the Terme di Bagnolo, near Monterotondo Marittimo.
Traditional and folk events are frequent and include the Balestro del Girifalco, with a costume parade in Massa Marittima (on the fourth Sunday of May and the second of August); the Palio Marinaro dell’Argentario, with its historic parade on Ferragosto (the 15th of August, Italian bank holiday) in Porto Santo Stefano; the traditional Festa della Pina in Arcidosso, on the first Sunday after Easter; and the Palio Marinaro in Castiglione della Pescaia.
The Feast Days for Patron Saints are of great importance, especially the Feast of San Lorenzo in Grosseto, the Feast of St. Erasmus in Porto Ercole, and the Feast of San Cerbone in Massa Marittima that includes the participation of groups in medieval costumes.
Festivals and feasts (sagre) devoted to typical produce are also common: the Gustatus Enogastronomic Expo in Orbetello (the last weekend of October), the feast of the wild rabbit on the Island of Giglio (September), and the feast of the wild boar in Capalbio (September).
The cuisine of the Maremma is based on products from the land and ancient traditions.
Typical dishes are fettuccine with varying accompaniments: mushroom soup, pheasant broth and above all, Acquacotta, a soup with lightly fried onion, celery, tomato and chili (peperoncino).
A typical second course dish from Maremma is scottiglia di cinghiale, a wild boar stew, while the specialty of the Island of Giglio is wild rabbit chasseur, cooked with tomato, spices and a touch of chili.
On the coast and in seaside localities, popular dishes include fish soup, mare e monti preparations (combining products from both land and sea), and caldano, a soup of fish, octopus, cuttlefish, tomato and bread.
Maremma, so abundant with forested and wild areas, also offers game and dishes made with boar, hare and pheasant. Bruschetta is also very common, paired with the excellent local olive oil, cheese and charcuterie.
As far as desserts go, try the cavallucci, a cookie from Massa Marittima; castagnaccio, a tart made with chestnut flour; pagnottella di Natale, typical to Porto Santo Stefano; scarsella orbetellana, an Easter bundt cake presented with a symbolic egg in its center.
Of white and red wines, the Vino Colli di Maremma, Morellino di Scansano, Ansonica Costa dell’Argentario, Ansonaco di Isola del Giglio and Bianco di Pitigliano are just a few of the noteworthy names.
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