Are you ready to be welcomed by a profusion of secret coves, fascinating backdrops, picturesque islands, a bath of green in total freedom among breathtaking landscapes and biodiversity where nature continues to create wonders? Follow us on a tour between sea, nature, outdoor experiences and events, stretching from Vetulonia to Capalbio.
Our trip starts in Vetulonia, a tiny Etruscan village perched over a hill overlooking the plains of Grosseto and located in what was once considered to be ancient Etruria. In Etruscan times, it was occupied by Lake Prile, a lagoon in connection with the sea on which also overlooked the Etruscan city of Roselle.
Green pastures characterize the area surrounding Vetulonia, where you’ll be able to go riding at Corte degli Ulivi, a historical farm which is known its Butteri, mounted herders, usually of horses, of cattle, or of buffaloes, who ride across the marshes predominantly in the Maremma region of Tuscany and northern Lazio, or in the Pontine Marshes to the south. Corte degli Ulivi is a 20 minute car ride away from Vetulonia.
Nearby, you’ll find Castiglione della Pescaia, a characteristic seaside village perched on a promontory of the Maremma coast. On its summit the Aragonese castle, the walls, the towers and the splendid panorama give this place a disarming beauty. Castiglione della Pescaia is also an exclusive tourist destination appreciated for the quality of its environment and sea. In the small and pretty cemetery-garden of Castiglione della Pescaia is buried the famous Italian writer Italo Calvino.
Located near Castiglione della Pescaia you’ll also find Gli Attortellati, a restaurant serving typical Tuscan cuisine. Every day the menu changes offering new dishes, but some dishes are always present, like the classic Tortelli maremmani as well as never miss the game, whether wild boar or roe deer, maybe the excellent pappardelle with wild boar.
We also suggest paying a visit to Cala Violina, as it is one of the most beautiful beaches in this part of the coast. It's a bit hard to get there but apparently it's absolutely worth it.
However, where to stay in the area? We suggest staying at B&B Il Baciarino, a charming b&b known for its set of small houses hidden in the middle of a forest where there are also animals that roam free - including goats, donkeys, chickens. Il Baciarino overlooks a beautiful landscape and you can also see the sea from afar. The owner is also a very good cook, who knows how to cook fish very well. For breakfast, the owner wakes up at 6am and makes freshly baked hot bread while you're having breakfast. Some cottages have a private pool. Here you can breathe a very typical and authentic hospitality.
We move southward on the coast towards Talamone, a delightful seaside village situated on a small promontory, overlooking the Argentario Gulf and nearby the Maremma Natural Park. Today Talamone is a popular seaside resort, its bay is ideal for sailing sports: the colors of windsurfing, kite surfing and sailing boats, are an integral part of these waters.
Along the Silver Coast, in Talamone, reach Bagno delle Donne. Cala Bagno delle Donne is a pebble cove, surrounded by rocky outcrops. What strikes tourists is not so much the beach itself, but the colors of the water and the seabed of this stretch of the Tyrrhenian Sea, rich in marine life and spectacular backdrops ideal for diving. These beaches tell a story of other times: until the 50s, the "singles" of the time, both men and women, were not allowed to attend the same beach and so it was that the stretch of sea in front of the two beaches, separated by the rocks and still called by the inhabitants of the country the living room, was a meeting place "secret" where glances could cross each other.
Where to stay in the area? We suggest sleeping and eating at Villa Talamo. Villa Talamo is a historic property that dates back to the mid 18th century, between Talamone Bay and the coast of Giannella, just a few kilometers from the peninsula of Argentario. Immersed in nature and sheltered by the beautiful Bengodi promontory, it is only 400 meters from the highway exit. The property rests directly on the Tyrrhenian Sea and enjoys spectacular sunsets on the Talamone Port, with magnificent views of Monte Argentatio and the Tuscan Archipelago islands like Giglio and Montecristo.
Next up is a stop at our curator’s favourite place, Monte Argentario. Monte Argentario is a promontory of rare beauty almost completely surrounded by the sea. It is joined to the mainland by the two beaches of Giannella and Feniglia, and by the artificial road that cuts in two the lagoon of Orbetello. Many are the places of Monte Argentario that deserve a visit.
Porto Santo Stefano is a renowned seaside resort and is the main inhabited center of Monte Argentario. It was developed behind the commercial port of Valle and the Marina of Pilarella. The Spanish Fortress of the XVII century dominates the high part of the town, and at its feet, there are many alleys and stairways very suggestive. Very pleasant is the walk along the promenade, designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, which leads you to Piazza dei Rioni.
We also suggest visiting Porto Ercole. An ancient fishing village, today a famous summer vacation resort, it is "guarded" by the mighty fortresses built at the time of the Spanish garrisons. The oldest part of the village, the one under the fortress, can only be visited on foot, and has kept intact the architecture and atmosphere of past centuries. Along the small port you can still see old sea wolves struggling with their races. Some of the best beaches to visit in the area are Cala Gesso, named after the chalk quarries active in the past in this area, and Cala Mar Morto, one of the wildest and most barren coves of the Argentario, made up completely of rocks and large pebbles.
In the area we suggest paying a visit to the beach club La Caletta or the well known hotel Il Pellicano, for an aperitivo at sunset.
For dinner, pay a visit to I pescatori di Orbetello, a marvellous little traditional place with only two tables and two chairs.
If instead you want to venture out into the countryside, you should venture to Orbetello, a characteristic town of the Maremma that offers tourists naturalistic, archaeological and enogastronomic attractions of the first level. Orbetello is surrounded on three sides by the homonymous lagoon, which, situated along the migratory routes, is a destination for numerous species of avifauna. Walking in the pretty and flat town center inside the walls, you can visit the ancient gates, the powder magazine Guzman, the Governor's palace, the Cathedral and the churches of Santa Maria delle Grazie, San Francesco and San Giuseppe.
In the area you can also visit HYPER MAREMMA, an art residency which aims to activate the area of southern Tuscany, known as Maremma, light on a side of this geographical area through the intervention of emerging and contemporary artists invited to relate to the history of the land, its panorama and its atmospheres suitable for the development of a constellation of events starting from 2019. The intervention plan is based on a targeted raid on the territory, aimed to create a dialogue between venues and artworks for the experimentation of new languages. Visual works, sound adventures, performances and artist residences will have the purpose to activate and fertilize the Maremma through a kind of “hyperactivity”.
And of course, you should stay at Casa Iris, a lovely bed and breakfast, nested in the five hundred year old Palazzo Raveggi, just inside the historic center of Orbetello. Presenting a playful mix of modern design and ancient beauty, Casa Iris offers luxury amenities, inviting and spacious rooms and a delicious, fresh breakfast including local organic produce each morning.
Last but not least, a visit to Capalbio should be in the books. Capalbio can be reached by taking the Aurelia, whether you arrive from the south or the north, the town is already visible from the road, so it will be sufficient to follow the road signs to get to the top of the town. Our visit in the historical center, where you can access only on foot, begins by crossing the double-arched door surmounted by a plaque of 1418 (which commemorates the restoration of the walls made by the Sienese conquerors) and a coat of arms of the Medici with an inscription of 1602. You can still see the wooden and iron door, which in past centuries, was closed at sunset to avoid unwanted incursions.
In the Reserve of Lake Burano we find all the natural environments typical of the Maremma, located in the municipality of Capalbio between Ansedonia and Chiarone, established in 1980 as the first oasis managed by the WWF. The reserve covers an area of 410 hectares of which 140 are occupied by the lake. It is a coastal brackish lake, about 3 km long and separated from the sea by a double cordon of sand dunes.
Il Giardino dei Tarocchi is probably Niki de Saint Phalle's masterpiece: immersed in the nature of the Maremma, cyclopean sculptures stand 12 to 15 meters high dedicated to the symbols of the tarot, a world between dream and reality in which the 22 major arcana of the tarot are depicted. The garden is a true open-air museum, perfectly inserted in the hilly landscape of the Maremma, a park of exceptional charm, unique in the world, one of the most important examples of environmental art in Italy where the sculptures "dialogue" with nature.
Where to go for lunch or dinner in the area? La Dogana Capalbio is a beach, restaurant, cocktails and lounge bar. Flowing with charm and refinement, on one of the most beautiful beaches of the Tuscan Riviera, surrounded by the scents of the Mediterranean scrub.
Spend your last day at Terre di Sacra, a bed and breakfast which was established in 1922, when a group of friends decided to acquire a large territory that stretches from the Castle of Capalbio to the sea. The land was wild, marshy and inhospitable. This did not discourage the group of friends who invested their time, resources and energy. The land’s reclamation engaged the company for dozens of years but the results were stunning and still tangible today. The farm was another feather in the cap for the company and it received a lot of awards for husbandry and agricultural innovations. Today Terre di Sacra is an extraordinary place, perfectly integrated in the natural landscape and surrounding territory.