Day 1-3 Maremma: the Coast, the Tufi, the Hot Spring
Ansonica, Bianco di Pitigliano, Morellino, Syrah wines
Maremma and its atmosphere
In southern Tuscany, 2 hours from Rome, there is the “Maremma”, a frontier land not to miss in a tour from Rome to Florence, an unique combination of the warmth of the south with the classic Tuscany style. This is a beautiful area, rural and exclusive at once, as much as the big bus tours will keep ignoring it. You will find, instead, the more picky Roman, Tuscan people and the more curious Europeans. In the Middle age this coastal region was abandoned, left to the pirates and to malaria, and turned into a wild place, dangerous, solitary and wild. That is why it still keeps today several pristine, beautiful locations, and why it turned into one of the more fashionable destinations. Its heritage dates back to before the Romans: Etruscan tombs, mysterious entrenched roads and ruins, hidden in the woods, all brings us far back, in the atmosphere of the early legendary Etruscan, first civilizers of this land.
The hilltop towns, Scansano and Pitigliano among others, the Argentario coast, the Orbetello lagoon, the natural hot springs, they all form this different, never too crowded Tuscany which we propose to visit in the spring and late fall, when you still enjoy its milder Mediterranean climate. Or in the winter too, planning to stay in Saturnia, in its spas and the famous warm pools.
The wines, in constant evolution, will be a great surprise, and the cuisine is a trip itself, based on three lines: fresh seafood, high quality meats and game, and - for the snob travellers - starred chef restaurants, which serve their “creations” to the more picky gourmets, and discreet VIPs visitors.
• Orbetello, lagoon and the Spanish forts • Argentario, the “Ansonica wine”
• Pitigliano, the caves, the Synagogue • Sovana, the magic of a lost world
• Scansano, the Morellino wine • Saturnia, the town, the hot springs
Day by Day, the itinerary
Day 1 Arrival, Etruscan city Day 2 Pitigliano Sovana Day 3 Saturnia, Scansano
Three days in “Maremma” bring us along the coast, in the “tufi” area, and to the Scansano and Saturnia hills. Each of the three habitats reveals some special sites and, of course, good wines.
Day 1 Arrival in the Etruscan land
On the first day we meet in Rome or in Grosseto. Driving to Maremma can take 3-4 hours. If we start early, we will have time to stop in the first fascinating Etruscan site. Their civilization blossomed before the Roman one, especially here, where we spend the first three days. What we discover, in Cerveteri or Tarquinia to start with, are refined works of art, and impressive mound tombs. Some are decorates by bas-reliefs and lively frescoes describing the celebrations and the everyday life of this mysterious population, which are the ancestors of the Tuscans.
As an alternative, we can take a detour to the Argentario coast, where the unique Ansonica white wine is made, only by a few vintners. We can see the Feniglia beach, and Orbetello, a peculiar town guarded by the most impressive Renaissance fortresses, which was built by the Spanish in the middle of a lagoon. Today it provides a whealth od fresh fish all year long to the rest of Tuscany. After relaxing at the hotel, in our welcome dinner we start to experience the local cuisine, and the wines: Ansonica, Bianco di Pitigliano, Morellino di Scansano.
Lodging in the Sovana-Saturnia area, 3 nights
Day 2 Pitigliano Sovana
We journey in the “tufi” area, a volcanic rocks plateau, fertile and rich of water, where the Etruscans created rich colonies. We visit first Pitigliano, the first città del vino (wine city). Its traditional Bianco di Pitigliano - see more below - is fresh and pleasant, but there will be very fine reds, for the red wine lovers too. We will taste in a family estate, and in an ancient cellar dung in the soft tufa rock. The medieval town is picturesque, a natural fortress built on the very edge of a rock cliff. Beside than the underground cellars, it preserves a small Synagogue, and traces of the Jewish community that lived here for centuries, protected by the Orsini while they were fleeing from Rome.
In the afternoon we visit Sovana, a microscopic hamlet that seems almost untouched since medieval times. Near Sovana we can enjoy the magic atmosphere of the Etruscan necropolis, this time showing monumental tombs carved on the hillside, like miniature Egyptian tombs, and of the mysterious vie cave, deeply entrenched paths that crisscross the countryside, connecting places that our eyes don’t see anymore.
Day 3 Saturnia, Scansano
The classic combination of vineyards, olive groves and oak woods appears in the open valleys between Scansano and Saturnia. The landscape, however, is less rocky and steep than in Chianti, somehow more peaceful. Its signature is definitely warmer and Mediterranean. The town Scansano is the center of the Morellino red wine production, a wine made with the traditional Tuscan blend. It can be related with Chianti but it is smoother and warmer, like the landscape around, and easier to drink. In the afternoon we visit the old village of Saturnia a great place to get lunch, and the hot sulphureous spring nearby. It was popular in Roman times already, as sacred, and healing waters. Where, for example the legions rested to purify, on the way back from their campaigns abroad, and where in the cooler seasons, you too could enjoy a dive in a warm pool, or in the natural waterfall along the road.
Dinner at the hotel, before packing and getting ready for the next part of the tour.