Beautiful Tuscany towns: the undiscovered gems of southern Tuscany that is Maremma. Quiet hill towns with castles and towers, and small beach towns along a nothing less than stunning coast.
Beautiful and undiscovered Tuscany towns in which the true "dolce vita" is found in the timeless simplicity of everyday life.
Nestling on wooded hill tops surrounded by fortified walls, or along a precipitous gorge, a walk within their walls will transport you back centuries and leave you wanting to stay. Forever.
Maremma is like that!
There is even a medieval fortress town alongside an Etruscan acropolis with seascape views to die for. A perfect place for an aperitivo after a day on the beach in one of the most beautiful bays in Italy below. What more could you ask for in one location?
Fancy staying within its walls with that uninterrupted view to gaze upon from the moment you wake in the morning? You can!
I'm not a great fan of top 10 or best of lists because they are by their very nature, all very subjective: what I like, you may not, and vice versa.
And my experience of living here and exploring has taught me that those places that don't leave your draw dropping the moment you catch sight of them like some definitely do, still have something very special to offer.
Most of the time you just have to be willing to "travel slow" for it to reveal itself or for you to appreciate it.
That said. After year after year of taking my visiting friends and family out exploring on their first trips here, there is a list in my head that hasn't changed much in over 12 years.
These are the towns that I always take them to see.
If you don't have a long time in which to explore Maremma, they will give you an incredible taste of what "la bella Maremma" is all about. Until you return again that is! My house guests tend to take off on their own on their second and third trips; confident in the knowledge that, wherever they go, it won't be a "mistake" and happy to let the day and the road decide where they end up discovering.
Which, I have to say is the very best way to discover Tuscany as it always ends in days full of smiles and surprises.
Whether you're looking for the perfect seaside location for a young family with easy access to wide beaches and shallow waters as far as the eye can see.
A more intimate small coastal retreat with seascape views and tiny tucked away coves.
A Riviera ambience along a once Spanish silver coast. With shops and restaurants to spoil you every day.
Or beautiful, blissful, waters a step away from the car park for a day trip from Florence or Siena to remember. Forever.
Then Maremma's got it all. And some.
And in case you need any more convincing, these are the beaches...
Maremma has three cities: all situated along its coast. one to the northin each of its ancient constituent northern, central, and southern coastal parts.
To the north, the city of Piombino in Maremma Livornese along the Costa degli Etruschi.
To the south, the city of Civitavecchia at the southern-most point of Maremma Laziale, on the coast of the Province of Roma.
And, in the centre, the city of Grosseto in Maremma Grossetana. Which, unlike the other two, feels more like an easy going town. But it wasn't always like that!
This is the view from inside its city walls. The Medicea family had bastions and a "cassero" (keep) built within the fortified enclosing city walls that had guard look-out posts directed onto their people inside the city. Just in case they were tempted to revolt!
It wasn't unheard of!
Those walls are still completely intact and, although they don't have Lucca's wonderful wide top for strolling, cycling, running and skating on, they are home to a pathway that gives you a great view of the centre and its piazza's below.
Take a wonderful guided walk through the Medicea fortress heart, go shopping Italian-style, and people watch over a coffee in Piazza Dante.
And, if Grosseto is Maremma's Lucca, then the "floating" ship like town of Orbetello on its blue lagoon, is its little Venice.
With its iconic "Antica Spagnola Mulino" - ancient Spanish mill. Only one remains, but there were once eight more catching the breeze in a line in the lagoon.
The Ancient Spagnola Mulino - the Spanish Mill - Orbetello Italy
A once Spanish stronghold with remnants of dialect and plenty of architectural evidence to boot to prove the point, today Orbetello is a town to stroll in, cafe hop, and enjoy the views.
Take your camera with you to the local co-op supermarket and you'll likely as not see a mirage across the waters of pink!
For the lagoon is a very special nature reserve home to an incredible array of birdlife. Including a flamingoes, a lot of whom have decided to forgo their migration pattern and remain year round in Maremma.
Explore some more...