Discover Maremma Italy and be prepared to change what you thought were your holiday plans! For this is the Tuscany you didn't expect and the outreaches of Rome that you would never have contemplated visiting.
But once you have walked along the wild beaches, trekked through woodlands to reach stunning isolated coves, visited dark spider-filled Etruscan tombs, castled medieval villages and gone down silver mines with me here, you will start to do just that.
Maremma doesn't come with any flashing neon lights, bells or whistles. It's special places - and there are lots of them - need no embellishments. So it won't suit all. But if you love the outdoors, the natural world, walking, trekking, cycling, surfing, sailing, diving, fishing, archaeology, birdwatching, geology... great home-cooking, incredible wines and blazing sunsets, then be prepared to be overwhelmed with choices.
And to top it all, this is the Tuscany that children won't get bored of exploring.
Maremma's hill town of Sassetta is the poor sister to her ever so wanting to be chic sibling down by the coast, Castagneto Carducci. But it is to her that you will longingly head in the summer. For despite her more mundane clothes and forsaken doorways, she has what money cannot buy.
These cosy Tuscany cottages with a pool will have you feeling at home from the moment you walk up their garden paths and through their front doors. And leave you rested at the end of your holiday in a way you probably haven't felt in years.
There are eight of them. One old one with a terrace covered in white wisteria. And seven new, totally ecologically friendly, ones. Each with everything you could want for a superb holiday.
But be aware, it is not difficult to fall in love with this breathtakingly beautiful land and its special places. For Maremma has a way of capturing your heart before you know it and leave you dreaming of returning again and again... until one day you just stay forever. I did!
For some, the attraction is the natural beauty of the undiscovered wildernesses and national parks that touch and find a deep resonance in their souls. This is the wildest part of Tuscany. For others it is the spectacular 250km Mediterranean coastline with pristine blue flag beaches stretching for as long as the eye can see.
Secluded white sand coves that look as though they are the set of a James Bond film. And expansive warm shallow waters perfect for toddlers and children to splash and play in all day long. And the crystal clear blue, turquoise, and green waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea with it's fishing villages, ports, marinas and islands.
Or the medieval hill top villages and towns, unspoilt and steeped in history. Where the tranquility is profound and it is so very easy to imagine life centuries ago.
The wonderful home-cooked traditional food, with wild boar or hare from the densely wooded hills, fresh fish from the sea .... And the renowned DOC and Super Tuscan wines.
But it is more than that. It is the life that it offers that leaves you wanting nothing else. Those who were born and live here hold a deep resonating passion for this land, no more eloquently expressed than the fact that they have never desired to travel far away. Neighbouring cities of Pisa, Firenze, Siena and Roma, even though only a short drive away, remain unvisited. And when you talk to locals who have visited them, you quickly learn that it was by necessity for a hospital appointment and no more!
This Guide is packed with tips and suggestions from my own experiences of living here to help you plan an unforgettable vacation. Read about:
Places to stay, whether your accommodation preference is bed and breakfast, camping, hotels, apartments, villas, farmhouses or an agriturismo.
Favourite places to eat and drink - restaurants, osterias, trattorias, pizzerias .... and great lunch and supper stops along the road. Where to taste and buy the local produce for your picnics or self-catering. Where to find the best coffee, "dolce" (cakes) and home made ice cream.
The myriad of things to do and see, from sailing & surfing, to fishing and scuba diving, trekking and cycling, horseback riding and the Maremman Cowboys, wine-tasting and cooking classes, medieval castles and towers, museums and mines.
La dolce vita in Maremma is simple and unpretentious; but life is rich. People smile a lot in Maremma. May you too start a love affair with this special tranquil part of Tuscany and, who knows, one day decide to stay.
With a little planning - you don't need much - no holiday in Tuscany will ever disappoint. Some of your best moments and the ones that will leave a smile on your face for a long time, will be the things you experience as you turn a corner, or take a road that you never intended to, but did anyway.
Italy is like that. Especially Tuscany.
And if you have just come across Maremma and are now feeling overwhelmed with even more choices of things to do and see. Don't worry. I have a way of making sure you don't miss anything special.
Subscribe to my Maremma Treasures newsletter below, and twice a month I'll show you incredible places to explore, as well as locations where you will just want to sit and stare at it all.
Wonderful places to eat and sleep. Together with some very special offers, tips, and suggestions along the way to ensure you have a holiday of a lifetime.
I should be packing tonight but just took a few minutes to read your newsletter which arrived today - great articles, and absolutely stunning photos!
Can't wait to look at them again on my bigger computer when I get home - a laptop doesn't do them justice.
Thanks for 10 minutes of being totally transported to another place!
Susan, Boston, USA
I love getting your newsletters!
It makes me want to come and spend a month vising your beautiful area!
I am saving all of them, if the future holds a trip for me, I will contact you, to get your recommendations.
Thanks for all the great info and pictures!
Thank you for your newsletter. It was the highlight of my evening.
So beautiful, so interesting, so inviting. I loved every minute of it.
Your pictures and descriptions of all that Maremma has to offer are exquisite!
We visited Italy in 2010 but we did not venture into your area. But that will change and we are making plans to see Italy again next year and Maremma is on the top of our to do list.
I am looking forward to your next newsletter with great anticipation.
Georgia Garbini, Pennsylvania, USA